We know the current market is challenging, but 2010 first half construction volume is even worse than we could have foreseen back in January. According to ENR, total construction volume is down 11% from 2009, with private construction down 14%. The commercial Office sector is down nearly 40% from 2009’s abysmal first half, and commercial Hospitality down a whopping 60% from 2009. Ouch. Only slightly less dismal are Manufacturing -22%, Schools -20%, and private Health Care -19%. To make matters worse, we’re still seeing inflated bid lists, jammed with contractors competing out of their traditional strengths and geographic areas. These fish out of water are offering work at a deep discount to experienced firms bidding at home. We can only wonder how long this can last, and how many firms will go under? The single bright spot for first half 2010 is residential, up 4%. Forgive us if our enthusiasm seems subdued.