Shop Talk: Dodge Data & Analytics economist on the construction outlook for 2019 As we close the books on 2018, how did construction perform this year versus 2017 and historically? What are the current levels in construction activity in the multifamily and commercial real estate sectors? Which markets are seeing the most activity? What effects will interest rate hikes, rising costs of materials and the shortage of skilled labor have on development activity? And, of course, what is the construction outlook for 2019? Robert Murray, chief economist at Dodge Data & Analytics — formerly McGraw Hill Construction — offers his retrospective and forecast.