Recent Data Show Good Things on the Horizon for the Construction Industry

State employment map 2017 – 2018. Courtesy of the AGCA.

Things are looking up for electrical contractors and the construction industry as construction jobs and contractor confidence are on the rise.

Analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) of data released by the Department of Labor on March 12 shows 35 states and DC added construction jobs in 2017.

California led the pack with 75,500 new jobs or an increase of 9.8 percent from January 2017 to January 2018, followed by Florida (16,5000 jobs, 8.5 percent), Texas (28,100 or 4.0 percent) and Washington (16,500 or 8.5 percent). West Virginia far outpaced the rest of the country in percentage increase with a 14.4 percent increase, representing 4,300 new jobs.

This good fortune continued into the new year. On March 9, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that a record-breaking month of job growth in the industry. In February, 61,000 net new jobs were added, the most reported since March 2007.

Contractors’ confidence in the future of the industry is also growing. In the United States Gypsum (USG) + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index (CCI) report for the first quarter of 2018, 67 percent of contractors expressed optimism that 2018 would see increased demand.

Similarly positive findings were reported by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) in their February 2018 NEMA Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI), in which senior managers at NEMA member companies are asked how conditions in the industry compare to six months ago and how they expect them to compare to six months in the future.

Though February’s report showed a rise in respondents who felt current conditions were worse than in previous months, respondents were still positive about the future. 76.5 percent of respondents expected better conditions in six months, an increase from 71.4 percent from January’s survey. Respondents cited synchronized global growth, corporate tax reform, and an improved business climate for their increased optimism.

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