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‘Recovery? What Recovery?’ Ask Bridge Builders, Tractor Makers

Jan. 14, 2021, 11:00 AM

With Covid vaccines rolling out nationwide, Congress putting $900 billion into Americans’ pockets and the stock market gaining 16% last year, there’s a great deal of talk about a rapid recovery for the U.S. economy in 2021.

Tell that to the companies that pave, manufacture and build. Some may not hit their 2019 revenue levels until at least 2025, according to analysts’ forecasts. Economic bellwether Caterpillar Inc.’s third-quarter sales were down 20% from a year earlier.

Infrastructure projects this year face cancellations as states and municipalities revenues plummeted in 2020 amid the lockdowns. Without an aid bill, the American...

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