Industry News

Construction industry on the mend, according to FMI

Things continue to look up for the construction industry for 2014 and beyond, according to top industry sources. FMI, a banking and consulting firm for the construction industry, echoes the media and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in saying that construction and construction employment are on the rise.

4 lane highway construction

Construction jobs have made five-figure increases month over month since last September—except in December, when the sector lost 20,000 jobs after a 32,000 rise in November, only to add another 50,000 jobs in January. Growth slowed slightly in February—but popular opinion says that severe winter weather affecting much of the country might have played a part.Residential construction also slowed down with the Polar Vortex but FMI predicts that its recent robustness is here to stay.

Growing Infrastructure, Growing JobsPower plant construction

An even better sign for the industry’s future, says FMI, is that much of the construction economy’s growth is happening in foundational sectors like power, transportation, and manufacturing. While these bits of infrastructure might take time to get up and running—a new power plant or manufacturing facility takes years of planning—they yield big jobs.

Lobbying for Long-Term Transportation Funding

The flip side of the coin is that since the recession, government spending on transportation has been short term only, which has created some jobs and made a dent in the country’s crumbling infrastructure but hasn’t addressed long-term planning in that sector.

Congress’s Map-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) provided $105 billion for highway construction and transit programs in 2013 and 2014. However, it expires on October 1 of this year, creating uncertainty for the highway construction industry.

Highway workersLuckily there are plenty of interested parties ready to fight for long-term transportation funding in Washington—and not just in the air transport and automotive industries.

National Electrical Contractors Association, for one, will be working over the next six months to “ensure a multi-year transportation bill passes”, according to a March 3 news release on their web site.

Sectors like commercial construction are doing well in affluent metropolitan regions but not as well yet in other parts of the country, FMI reports. There are no guarantees, but they expect this growth to spread across the economy in the coming year.