President Bush recently released a $3.1 trillion budget for fiscal year 2009 that plans to shrink domestic spending and proposes a 2.9% drop in infrastructure investment below last year's levels. According to a recent statement by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Arlington, Va., this includes the following cuts:

  • $1.8 billion from the Highway program

  • $200 million from the Transit program

  • $750 million from the Airport Improvement program

  • $800 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works program over what was enacted by Congress for fiscal year 2008

  • $134 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund

Source: Associated General Contractors of America

0.1%

Percentage increase in industrial production at mines, utilities, and factories in January.

79.7%

The percentage capacity utilization in manufacturing recently slipped to — this figure is under the long-run average of 79.8%.

Together, weakness in manufacturing industrial production and capacity utilization imply a possible slower demand for factory construction. According to the Federal Reserve, “Manufacturing capacity is estimated to increase 2.1% in 2008, the same amount as in 2007. In 2008, mining capacity is estimated to expand 0.7%, and utilities capacity is projected to rise 1.9%; both rates of increase would be slightly faster than for last year.”

Source: The Federal Reserve

220,000

The number of high-performance, energy-efficient homes the U.S. homebuilding industry has been called to build by 2012, under the Department of Energy's Builders Challenge, a new voluntary national energy savings program. A high-performance home would use at least 30% less energy than a typical new home built to meet criteria of the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code. As part of the DOE's Builders Challenge, 38 homebuilders have already pledged to build an estimated total of 6,000 high-performance homes. Ultimately, DOE aims to see 1.3 million homes of this high standard constructed by 2040, allowing Americans to save $1.7 billion in energy costs, or the carbon equivalent of taking 606,000 cars off the road annually. For more information on this program, visit www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/challenge/builders.html.

Source: Department of Energy