Construction and Economic Recovery

March 27, 1934

Report Outline
Prospect for Expansion of Construction in 1934
Public and Private Construction During Depression
Plans for Promoting Revival of Residence Building
Economic Importance of the Construction Industry
Special Focus

Prospect for Expansion of Construction in 1934

Consideration by the administration of plans to facilitate residential construction improves the prospect for expansion during 1934 of the upward movement in the construction industry that got under way last summer. Before the depression residential building exceeded in value all other separate types of construction, and its decline from 1929 to 1933 was more severe than that of any other branch of the industry. The government sought to counteract the general building decline by initiating a large public works program. Notwithstanding the magnitude of the appropriations voted for this purpose, it was evident that a widespread revival of private building was necessary if the construction industry, as in 1921, was to play a major part in leading the country out of depression. If means can now be found to promote extensive activity in private construction, therefore, the economic effects of the plan adopted should be more far-reaching than those of the public works program.

Estimates of the Federal Employment Stabilization Board indicate that the combined total of private and public construction touched its peak in 1928. The ensuing decline, which began a year before the onset of the general depression, was so great that by 1933 the value of all construction had fallen to less than one-third of the total attained five years earlier. A report covering contracts awarded for building and engineering projects in 37 states east of the Rocky Mountains, submitted to the Public Works Administration in January by the F. W. Dodge Corporation, construction statisticians, disclosed that the turning point was passed in the middle of 1933. The value of publicly-financed contracts in the territory surveyed, which in the first half of the year had been 52 per cent lower than in the corresponding period of 1932, showed in the second half of the year a 21 per cent increase over 1932. Similarly, privately-financed work ran 18 percent behind in the first six months of 1933 but 19 per cent ahead in the second six months.

The greater rate of increase in publicly-financed contracts was largely attributable to initial expenditures from the public works fund. Still greater increases from that source are anticipated in coming months as the public works program gathers momentum. The expansion of activity in private building during the last half of 1933 constituted evidence that the natural forces of recovery were already at work. Private construction, however, has much ground to cover before it returns to anything like normal proportions. Government assistance in speeding its revival would help to prepare the way for eventual discontinuance of extraordinary expenditures for public works.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
New Deal, Great Depression, and Economic Recovery
Feb. 20, 2009  Public-Works Projects
Jul. 25, 1986  New Deal for the Family
Apr. 04, 1973  Future of Social Programs
Nov. 18, 1944  Postwar Public Works
Apr. 12, 1941  Public Works in the Post-Emergency Period
Mar. 08, 1940  Integration of Utility Systems
Feb. 26, 1938  The Permanent Problem of Relief
Jun. 08, 1937  Experiments in Price Control
Jan. 05, 1937  Credit Policy and Control of Recovery
Nov. 27, 1936  New Deal Aims and the Constitution
Oct. 16, 1936  Father Coughlin vs. the Federal Reserve System
Sep. 25, 1936  Roosevelt Policies in Practice
Feb. 11, 1936  Conditional Grants to the States
Dec. 11, 1935  Capital Goods Industries and Recovery
Sep. 25, 1935  Unemployment Relief Under Roosevelt
Jul. 17, 1935  The R.F.C. Under Hoover and Roosevelt
Jul. 03, 1935  Six Months of the Second New Deal Congress
Jun. 04, 1935  The Supreme Court and the New Deal
Mar. 05, 1935  Public Works and Work Relief
Feb. 16, 1935  Organized Labor and the New Deal
Dec. 04, 1934  Rural Electrification and Power Rates
Oct. 26, 1934  Federal Relief Programs and Policies
Jul. 25, 1934  Distribution of Federal Emergency Expenditures
Jul. 17, 1934  Debt, Credit, and Recovery
May 25, 1934  The New Deal in the Courts
Mar. 27, 1934  Construction and Economic Recovery
Mar. 19, 1934  Price Controls Under N.R.A.
Feb. 15, 1934  Federal Promotion of State Unemployment Insurance
Jan. 10, 1934  Government and Business After the Depression
Jan. 02, 1934  The Adjustment of Municipal Debts
Dec. 12, 1933  The Machine and the Recovery Program
Dec. 05, 1933  Winter Relief, 1933–1934
Nov. 11, 1933  Power Policies of the Roosevelt Administration
Oct. 28, 1933  Buying Power under the Recovery Program
Oct. 19, 1933  Land Settlement for the Unemployed
Sep. 20, 1933  The Capital Market and the Securities Act
Jul. 18, 1933  Public Works and National Recovery
Jul. 01, 1933  The Plan for National Industrial Control
May 03, 1933  Economic Readjustments Essential to Prosperity
Apr. 26, 1933  Government Subsidies to Private Industry
Mar. 25, 1933  Rehabilitation of the Unemployed
Feb. 17, 1933  Federal Cooperation in Unemployment Relief
Nov. 16, 1932  Systems of Unemployment Compensation
Nov. 09, 1932  Policies of the New Administration
Aug. 18, 1932  Emergency Relief Construction and Self-Liquidating Projects
Dec. 28, 1931  Relief of Unemployment
Aug. 01, 1931  National Economic Planning
Jul. 20, 1931  Dividends and Wages in Periods of Depression
Feb. 19, 1931  Insurance Against Unemployment
Jan. 19, 1931  Business Failures and Bankruptcy Administration
Jan. 01, 1931  Federal Subsidies to the States
Dec. 08, 1930  Federal Relief of Economic Distress
Sep. 25, 1930  The Extent of Unemployment
May 16, 1930  Politics and Depressions
Dec. 20, 1929  The Federal Public Works Program
Jun. 08, 1929  The Federal Reserve System and Stock Speculation
Apr. 14, 1928  The Federal Reserve System and Price Stabilization
Feb. 25, 1928  The Federal Reserve System and Brokers' Loans
Economic Crises
Economic Development
Regional Planning and Urbanization