CINCINNATI — “The Dollars and Sense of Economic Recovery: The Impact on Construction” is the focus of a panel presentation at The Construction Users Roundtable’s (CURT) 9th Annual National Conference of Construction Owners, being held Nov. 16-18, 2009, at Buena Vista Palace Hotel in Orlando, Fla. CURT members spend more than $160 billion annually on construction services. The conference, themed “Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Construction Industry,” will focus on tangible solutions that help improve the competitive position of those involved in the construction process and industry.

The panel will feature three leading construction industry economists: Kermit Baker, chief economist for the American Institute of Architects; Anirban Basu, chief economist for the Associated Builders and Contractors; and Kenneth D. Simonson, chief economist for The Associated General Contractors.

The three chief economists will explore questions, including:

  • Will the coming recovery be long and slow, or will it kick into a higher gear at some point?
  • Will a recovery also bring a return inflation in labor and materials costs?
  • Is the Stimulus creating the foundation for inflation some years from now?
  • Which geographic markets may recover sooner?
  • Which markets may recover sooner, by project type?
  • Will the recovery put the millions of unemployed in construction back to work?

Simonson believes that owners should be “making use of the ‘limited-time sale’ that is occurring with falling materials costs and contractors’ bids, because in a short time, materials prices are likely to spike, and some contractors will be out of business, with their key employees retired or working in other industries.”

Basu feels that while the U.S. recession may now be over, “it’s still in its early stages for certain construction segments.” Moreover, he believes that “the recovery will be a fragile one and there is a very real probability that the U.S. economy will be back in recession within three years, and that at some point, the federal government-spending machine will be exhausted, and that at that time, the economy will rely upon the private sector to drive growth, but that may be difficult during a period associated with rising interest rates and taxes.”

Conference registration information is available at