The US construction industry remains positive about growth prospects for this year, despite surprisingly flat spending in January.
A decline in private constructions expenses countered an increase in public investments for building projects, which caused the neutral growth in construction spending for the month.
However, a Wells Fargo Equipment Finance (WFEF) survey showed that some industry executives expect 2018 to be the “best year ever.”
Based on a poll of 312 executives, 92% of surveyed construction firms expect net profits 2018 to remain at par or even increase from the previous year.
Suppliers and distributors are also positive for their business as they anticipate higher sales, including from companies that plan to buy steel tubing and other construction materials.
Cost of labor and construction has become an issue for some enterprises, so many have become particular about buying supplies whether online or offline. In response, several suppliers have offered different ways to lure more clients by offering free shipping or discounts for bulk orders.
WFEF’s John Crum said that the survey’s results marked a record-high level of optimism compared to the last two decades. Despite beginning on a flat note, construction spending will gradually pick up in the next several months due to the optimistic attitude.
However, a shortage of construction workers remains a threat to the industry’s growth, according to Crum. In January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that the industry created 36,000 new jobs.
While this is good news, companies need to do more in hiring new workers, particularly from the younger generation as older laborers are nearing their retirement age.
The strength of the construction sector will be vital for the US economy, so the industry needs to work double time in solving employment woes and other challenges. What is your outlook for 2018?