Survey results released by the Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate show 73% of the nearly 1,300 construction firms polled plan to expand their payrolls in 2017. Most firms will only see modest expansions, though, as 66% reported their planned hiring will increase total headcount between 1% and 25%. 6% of firms reported they plan on increasing their headcount more than 25% this year.
However, 73% of firms also reported that they are having difficulty finding qualified workers and 76% of respondents predict labor conditions will remain the same or get worse over the next 12 months.
Despite the concerns of the labor market, 46% of responding firms said they expect a higher dollar volume of projects in 2017 compared to 2016 while just 9% expect a lower volume. This provides a net positive reading of 36%
Contractors had a positive outlook for all 13 market sectors included in the survey, but the hospital and retail market and warehouse and lodging market had the highest net positive reading at 23% each.
Only the multifamily residential sector saw contractors less optimistic about 2017 than they were about 2016 with an 11% net positive reading in 2017 compared to 14% in 2016.
Of the 28 states that had large enough survey sample sizes, Massachusetts’ firms appear to be the most optimistic when it comes to increasing their headcounts as 94% plan to expand their payrolls in 2017, more than any other state. Conversely, 45% of firms in Illinois plan to reduce headcount in 2017,also more than any other state.
For the full survey results, click here.