Insights Inside Traffic


“The impacts of lower fuel prices, production rate changes and, in some cases, a pause on construction are starting to ripple through the region,” he said While hospitality and retail sectors are garnering headlines for taking the brunt of the pandemic’s blow, Pomfrett said green shoots are starting to be seen “particularly in the renovation and repurposing of existing buildings.” Another bright spot is housing, per Branch. “Within Texas, the residential market stands out as a clear winner driven by strong single-family activity, while nonresidential buildings are on the decline,” he said. According to Dodge research, San Antonio is showing the most growth, posting a 10 percent year-to-date gain for building construction, largely built on the strength of single-family activity. “On the other end of the spectrum is Houston,” said Branch, “which is down 17 percent through nine months as that metro is not only dealing with COVID-related impacts, but also very low oil prices.” “Overall our view of the Texas market is a positive one. There will be some peaks and troughs, which will be both region- and sector-specific, with burgeoning sectors such as tech and biopharm becoming more prominent,” Pomfrett said. “The key to the successful bounce-back of the region will be the availability of skilled labor.” That is a major component of Pomfrett’s observations: the challenge to deliver the workforce needed when construction volume regains momentum. “Worker productivity is being affected by local government regulations, close-downs and social distancing requirements, which curtail utilization, subsequently leading to either the need for additional labor to offset this or project schedules being extended,” Pomfrett said. In addition, sectors such as hotel and transportation will take years to recover due to reduced traveling, while other sectors will have to adapt going forward. “The office sector could see less demand for go to the website space as a growing number of companies shift to remote work,” Branch said.

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