As we look forward to the New Year in the roofing industry, it’s safe to say ‘good riddance” to 2008.

As we look forward to the New Year in the roofing industry, it’s safe to say ‘good riddance” to 2008.

And if you understand what happened in the construction industry during the fourth quarter of 2008, then you understand why I am happy to ring in 2009 with bells and whistles.

According to FMI (management consultants and investment bankers for the building and construction industry), the construction industry can be summed up as “good, bad and ugly.”

The good - nonresidential construction will close out 2008 in positive territory.

The bad - 2009 will bring an end to five straight years of nonresidential construction growth. The ugly - downturn of growth in 2009 will continue through 2010, which should mark the bottom in terms of dollar volume.

The FMI report said transportation construction is the only nonresidential segment likely to grow in 2010.

That’s a start.

Still, the just-released FMI report indicated the housing sector has good long-term growth prospects. With the population expected to increase by 100 million people over the next 30 years, there will have to be more housing.

It’s save to say this population growth and eventual increase in residential construction bodes well for the future growth of nonresidential construction.

However, an important indicator for construction is the federal funds rate, which as of the end of October was at its lowest rate since 2003 at 1 percent. The report indicated that: “intensification of financial market turmoil is likely to exert additional restraint on spending, partly by further reducing the ability of household and business to obtain credit.”

OK, we’ve gotten it from all sides in 2008. Now, I say ‘good riddance’ and ‘hello’ to 2009. It may get worse before it gets better, but I welcome the New Year with a good attitude and newfound respect for the roofing industry as we accept the challenges ahead.