End of an era? Construction permits declined in 2018
Contractors and developers filed for nearly 166,000 permits last year, according to the Department of Buildings. While that is only a slight dip from a record-setting 2017, it was the first decline since 2009.
“While construction activity remains strong, the building boom may have finally hit its peak,” Rick Chandler, the department’s commissioner, said in a statement announcing the numbers.
Construction employment declined from a peak in 2017, dropping by 500 workers to 45,500 last year, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Labor.
However, Carlo Scissura, head of the New York Building Congress, a trade group, dismissed the dip as insignificant and said the industry will be busy for years to come with big projects such as Amazon’s headquarters in Queens, JPMorgan Chase’s office tower on Park Avenue and the skyscraper Harry Macklowe is planning in Midtown. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority also will be undertaking major initiatives.
“The work planned in the next couple of years is astonishing, and let’s not forget about [John F. Kennedy International Airport] and all the infrastructure projects from the Port [Authority] and MTA,” he said. “To me, this [decline] is a non-issue.”
The organization, which advocates for the industry, predicted in October that spending on construction would increase to a record $61.8 billion in 2018 before falling back to $56.4 billion in 2020.