AGC survey indicates NY market stability, predicting increased market competition for projects

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New York contractors have reported mixed perceptions about the market for 2018, with many expressing concerns about increased competition for projects, according to a report from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGGA).

The data indicates a less optimistic picture in the Empire State than in many other parts of the country.

Expecting Growth to Continue: The 2018 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook,” shows that 75 percent of construction firms nationwide plan to expand their payrolls in 2018, based on the feeling that economic conditions will remain strong as tax rates and regulatory burdens fall.

Nationwide, “construction firms appear to be very optimistic about 2018 as they expect demand for all types of construction services to continue to expand,” AGCA CEO Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s CEO, said in a statement. “This optimism is likely based on current economic conditions, an increasingly business-friendly regulatory environment and expectations that the Trump administration will boost infrastructure investments.”

But the state-level data indicates a decidedly less optimistic perspective.

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The survey indicates that in New York, contractors overall anticipate a relatively stable business environment this year, with 36 percent expecting growth, 21 percent expecting a decline, and 43 percent anticipating things will be about the same as the previous year.

The most optimistic sectors for growth are hospitals and power, while there is an expectation of a decline in manufacturing, retail, warehousing and lodging.

Most contractors surveyed (63 percent) expect a modest increase in headcount, between 1 and 10 percent, with 20 percent indicating no change and 10 percent predicting a decline.

Compared to other states, New York. contractors are finding it relatively easy to find the skilled employees they need. Some 43 percent of contractors say they are having a hard time filling both salaried and craft worker positions, compared to numbers in the 70th percentile elsewhere.

The report shows that 59 percent of the construction firms that were polled increased their base pay in 2017 to help recruit and retain workers, while 14 percent increased contributions/improved employee benefits and 17 percent provided incentives or bonuses, significantly lower than contractors surveyed in several other states.

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