LONDON, ENGLAND -- North America’s construction output is forecast to fall by 6.5% in 2020, with Canada projected to see the steepest decline in output (-7%) owed in part to the collapse in global oil prices, while construction output in the U.S. is projected to decrease by -6.5%, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Even though all construction activities have been allowed to continue in most parts of the U.S. and Canada since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many projects in the bidding or final planning stages have been delayed or canceled largely due to the uncertainty surrounding the economy, falling demand for new construction works and concerns related to COVID-19 safety measures at construction sites.

“With the absence of a vaccine and the number of Coronavirus cases continuing to increase across the region, especially in the U.S., the short-term outlook for North America’s construction industry remains highly uncertain and will depend to a large extent on how long the social distancing measures both voluntary and compulsory prevails in the second half of 2020 and in 2021,” said Dariana Tani, economist at GlobalData.

GlobalData expects construction activity to remain weak over the remaining the forecast period (2021 to 2024). Public authorities in the U.S. and Canada are currently trying to find a balance between returning their economies back to normal while making sure that citizens remain safe through social distancing guidelines, increased testing and contract tracing and workforce protection controls. These measures will become more or less strict depending on the rate of infection and the operating capacity of the healthcare system.