Construction spending is expected to increase in 2019 in what could be a record year for the industry. Spending growth is particularly high in construction areas related to single-family, office buildings, lodging, and recreation. Transportation, public safety, and conservation and development are expected to have the highest growth rates. Here’s a closer look at upcoming spending trends.

Public Safety

Public safety saw a 10% increase from 2017 to 2018, and this growth trend is expected to continue into 2019. Things like government spending, population growth, and the incarceration rate have contributed to the rise in public safety spending. Many public safety facilities will need improvements and renovations, especially in metropolitan areas that have high growth rates, as these facilities are becoming overcrowded.


Government spending and increases in funding have propelled growth in transportation-related construction spending. From 2017 to 2018, transportation spending rose 13% and could increase another 8% this year. Increasing urbanization, in particular, has spurred the growth of transportation construction as this creates a demand for more connectivity.

Conservation and Development

Conservation and development construction also increased 10% in 2018. The 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Bill drove spending in this area, as did cleanup efforts in Texas, Florida, and the Carolinas following hurricane season last year. EPA budget costs, on the other hand, will limit conservation growth through 2020. Still, conservation and development growth is expected to increase by 7% in 2019.


Office construction rose 9% between 2017 and 2018, accelerated by the current office vacancy rate and decreasing unemployment rates. The vacancy rate is particularly low in urban areas, such as New York City and San Francisco. Office spending in 2019 could reach $78 million in 2019. Corporate relocations and a high demand for mission-critical facilities have also had a huge impact on office spending recently.


Lodging was up 8% last year and could reach $33 billion by the end of 2019. Income growth and decreasing unemployment have led to higher demand for leisure travel, while business travel has also increased. The occupancy rate is going up, which increased the need for both expansions and new lodging facilities. Many facility owners are also investing more in IT, analytics, and smart building technology.

While some areas like religious construction are decreasing right now, spending growth in public safety, office, lodging, transportation, and conservation and development will likely ensure that overall construction spending goes up in 2019. If trends play out as expected, 2019 could be a record year for construction. To keep up with the increasing demand for construction projects, firms are going to need more skilled professionals, and many firms will need to rethink their recruitment strategies to compensate for a continued gap in skilled labor.

How can we help you?

Searching for an opportunity in the construction industry? Contact The Birmingham Group today to discuss your career path or browse our open positions.

Are you a hiring authority needed construction talent? Submit a search request today.