Last week the Associated General Contractors of America released the results of its new report on the outlook of the construction industry for this year: “Ready to Hire Again: The 2015 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook”.

The biggest news is that some 80 percent of the U.S. construction firms surveyed said they plan to add to their payrolls in 2015, while only 7 percent said they plan to reduce their workforce size.

The big red flag for companies looking to expand is a skilled worker shortage.

Respondents included 900 firms from 48 states and the District of Columbia (firms from all states but Delaware and West Virginia responded). The largest group of responders (35%) completed less than $10 million worth of work in 2014.

Here are some other interesting tidbits we pulled from the report:

  • The majority of contractors surveyed expect the construction market to grow this year, the first time the survey has reflected this since it began in 2009.
  • Contractors expect the most growth in the private sector.
  • Firms were most optimistic about growth in retail/warehouse/lodging construction.
  • Many firms were also optimistic about growth in manufacturing, private office, and energy construction.
  • Contractors expect growth in public sector areas that aren’t heavily dependent on federal funding, such as water and sewer facilities, rail transit and airports.
  • 87% of the firms who are hiring said they were having trouble filling key professional and craft worker positions, and 81% said they think it’ll get harder over the year.
  • As the supply of qualified workers dwindles, firms are paying the ones they have more.
  • 79% of firms said they plan to purchase new construction equipment this year (up from 74% last year).

If the contractors surveyed do what they say they will this year, then growth in construction employment may reach its highest point in 10 years—provided firms can find the skilled labor they need!

Check out these links to AGCA’s cool infographic, the survey results.