Where the construction boom isn't
The building boom for places we go to have fun is over: Spending has slumped since the pandemic hit — and the drop-off isn’t letting up, per data out this morning.
- This category is broad: It includes everything from bowling alleys to racetracks to theme parks. But they're all places people gather, typically for hobbies.
Why it matters: Construction spending on these venues soared in the years leading up to the pandemic, with a ton of new places like sporting arenas and casinos springing up. Now the big question is how many more of these types of facilities are necessary if COVID-19 shifted our habits.
- “The pandemic impacted things like fitness center construction,” says Anirban Basu, an economist at Associated Builders and Contractors, an industry trade group.
- Working out at home might be here to stay, Basu says — leading to questions about whether there's enough demand to warrant new facilities.
Other big reasons for the slowdown: The shortage of materials has resulted in higher costs, and workers are hard to find. That’s led to a pullback in all types of construction projects.
- Yes, but: Overall spending has blown past pre-pandemic levels, driven by residential building. Nonresidential construction spending has lagged.
The bottom line: Spending to build places that bring us joy has slowed, but the money hasn’t stopped flowing entirely. And some projects put on ice are restarting.
- After a pandemic-induced pause, construction restarted earlier this year on Universal’s first new theme park in 20 years.