If you think nonresidential construction is hurting now, industry management consultant FMI has some bad news: It's going to get worse. The company's "Construction Outlook: First Quarter 2009 Report" says that nonresidential construction will likely plummet and suffer at least three years of contraction. (Residential construction, on the other hand, is expected to recover in 2011.) When should things hit the bottom? Not until sometime in 2010. Other lowlights from the report:

  • project delays are four times the normal rate (currently at 20 percent)
  • project cancelations are five times the normal rate (currently at 10 percent)
  • the Obama stimulus will not, on its own, save the construction industry.

There is some good news, however: inflation remains under control, most material prices are down, and there is still a large amount of construction being put in place. For more information, go to fminet.com.