Despite reporting 18.08% growth in May 2008, Sugar Land, Texas-based Industrial Info Resources’ North American Industrial Project Spending Index is at its lowest point since December 2006. Nevertheless, capital and maintenance spending at industrial sites remains high, with $352 billion in active projects in construction or scheduled to begin construction in 2008.

Industrial project spending growth has, for the most part, declined every month since July 2007, when the index peaked at more than 40% growth. By and large, the decrease in growth since July 2007 can be ascribed in part to the cautious attitude being taken by industrial firms when it comes to capital spending in today’s unpredictable market. The pulp and paper industry and the industrial manufacturing industry, with drops of 44% and 38%, respectively, have been hit the hardest in 2008 in terms of project spending, especially in the heavy manufacturing, textile, consumer goods, and automotive sectors.