The past 12 months have been difficult to understand for practically all segments of construction. It’s almost as if the country’s contractors have been sailing in an uncharted sea full of perils and constantly changing winds.

Trying to chart a course of success through the year has been particularly difficult for many masonry contractors. Every time it looks like fair weather sailing, a sudden gust pushes the boat off course. This year seems to have had more squalls than usual to test even the best helmsman.

So as you wipe the slate clean and start the planning process for 2004, it is advisable to keep a sailor’s eye toward the economic weather forecasts, which should be relatively good according to most economic forecasts.