Treasury Secretary Talks Construction in St. Louis

Wed December 31, 2003 - National Edition

Treasury Secretary John Snow met with members of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and other local construction industry leaders in St. Louis, MO, Dec. 5.

During the Secretary’s trip, he visited a local construction site, a construction-based charter high school, and discussed the state of the economy, as well as efforts by President Bush to create jobs, strengthen the economic recovery and increase the standards of living. He noted that the construction industry, which is an important segment of the overall U.S. economy, is showing signs of improvement.

Also Dec. 5, the Commerce Department reported that construction spending increased 0.9 percent in October, to a record $922 billion annual rate.

AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr said, “The construction industry has played a powerful role in sustaining economic growth and helping the recovery, nationally, in Missouri, and in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The construction industry is a major source of jobs, makes a disproportionately large contribution to the GDP, and is a major purchaser of manufactured products.”

Overall, the construction industry employs nearly 7 million people or about 6 percent of the nation’s non-farm, private sector employment, with an annual payroll of $250 billion. The construction industry contributes nearly eight percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as measured by the value of construction put in place, and for the first nine months of 2003, new orders for construction materials and supplies totaled $316 billion—nearly 11 percent of total manufacturing orders.

AGC of St. Louis President Leonard P. Toenjes said, “Construction employment in the St. Louis area has been rebounding in each of the last three months. One of the biggest bright spots for St. Louis is hospital construction, which is very strong. The Secretary’s visit here emphasizes the construction industry’s role in the development of the nation, and AGC of St. Louis is proud to have this opportunity to ’show off’ our good side.”