Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Raising the Steeple

Here's a corner of the American economy that doesn't get much attention, but may be on the upswing: The construction of U.S. religious buildings – including churches as well as synagogues, temples, mosques and other structures – has bounced up this year after being in decline for more than a decade, according to construction-data firm Dodge Data & Analytics.

Religious construction peaked way back in in 2002, with 51.9 million square feet of new space It then began a steady decline, even before the recession started, and Dodge estimates it will hit 9.3 million square feet this year, down 82 percent from that 2002 peak.

In dollar terms, spending on religious construction fell 9.1 percent in 2014. But through the first eight months of 2015, religious spending rose 2.3 percent compared with the same period in 2014. That;s the first increase for this industry in a very long time.

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