US & Global Economic Impact Analysis and Forecasts

Freedonia analysts and economists are sharing their insights on how major events are impacting different parts of the US and global economies.

Google’s Construction Plans: More Offices As Well As Data Centers

A recent announcement by Google that it would be expanding its physical footprint across the US. That this plan included increasing its number of building office complexes was surprising to many people, as the COVID-19 pandemic – and the general success of the working from home – has caused many companies to entertain the notion of downsizing office spaces. Google’s building push will be welcome by construction professionals in the cities and localities in which these new sites will be located, as thousands will be employed in not only erecting these structures, but also in manufacturing and supplying the materials and components needed for their construction.

However, that this expanded physical footprint would include more data centers was not surprising. The increasing need for more data centers is related, at least in part, to a pandemic shift as more employees are and are expected to continue to work from home more frequently. In addition to health concerns (employers may be leery of having fully staffed offices), many workers have been just as productive at home as if they were in the office and appreciate the flexibility of working from home. Furthermore, increasing interest in e-commerce activity, stock trading online, and online entertainment such as video streaming and gaming has driven gains in Internet usage, which in turn supports demand to data centers to handle surges in Web traffic.

This increasing construction of data centers will support demand for a wide range of building materials, key among them:

  • cement and ready-mix concrete
  • prefabricated building components, such as roof and wall panels and floor and roof trusses
  • roofing and siding materials
  • HVAC systems
  • insulation – especially important to help structures at a constant temperature while using energy efficiently
  • flooring materials, especially those that are static-dissipative to minimize fire risk
  • wiring, generators, and electrical equipment

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, particularly in the Construction and Building Products and Consumer Goods areas. Freedonia also offers an expanding catalog of COVID-19 Economic Impact reports, which highlight how various industries are responding to the current crisis with a comparison to recent recessions. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.