Much like a bad cold you just can’t seem to shake, this soft construction market can’t seem to put itself back on a solid growth track. At the beginning of this year, many industry experts had projected a turnaround by the third or fourth quarter. However, as the year progressed, they had to adjust their projections. Once again, the return to prosperity has been pushed out even further.

As you’ll see when you read this month’s cover story (starting on page 22), most construction economists are forecasting little overall growth next year. The unfortunate reality is that even those market segments that might hit double-digit growth increases next year will do so against historically low totals.

The key to a true turnaround in the construction market is the private investment community. The government can only do so much to prop up this market. State and local governments are still trying to stop the bleeding and continue to look for ways to trim operating and maintenance costs and delay new projects. The housing market will remain depressed and improve only when private sector job growth ramps up again. Although the time frame on when this will happen is still anyone’s guess, I’m hoping 2011 will be the year the construction industry finally returns to good health.