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AGC Study: Construction Firms Planning New Hires, Equipment Purchases in 2014
Associated General Contractors / January 21, 2014
Many firms plan to start hiring again and most contractors predict demand will either grow or remain stable in virtually every market segment this year according to survey results released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The survey, conducted as part of Optimism Returns: The 2014 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook, provides a generally upbeat outlook for the year even as firms worry about growing worker shortages, rising costs and the impact of new regulations and federal budget cutting.
“Contractors are more optimistic about 2014 than they have been in a long time,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “While the industry has a long way to go before it returns to the employment and activity levels it experienced in the middle of the last decade, conditions are heading in the right direction.”
Sandherr noted that many firms plan to begin hiring again, while relatively few plan to start making layoffs. Forty-one percent of firms that did not change staff levels last year report they plan to start expanding payrolls in 2014, while only two percent plan to start making layoffs. However, net hiring is likely to be relatively modest, with 86 percent of firms reporting they plan to hire 25 or fewer new employees this year.
Among the 19 states with large enough survey sample sizes, 100 percent of firms that did not change staffing levels last year in Utah plan to start hiring new staff this year, more than in any other state. (Click here for state-by-state survey results.)
Contractors have a relatively positive outlook for virtually all 11 market segments covered in the Outlook, in particular for private-sector segments. For five of those segments, at least 40 percent of respondents expect the market to expand and fewer than 20 percent expect the market to decline in 2014. The difference between the optimists and pessimists – the net positive reading – is a strong 28 percent for private office, manufacturing and the combined retail/warehouse/lodging segments, and 25 percent for power and hospital/higher education construction.