Confidence in construction markets is high among U.S. engineering leaders: ACEC survey

The American Council of Engineering Companies’ third quarter Engineering Business Index rose 6.2 points to 63.3—the largest quarter-to-quarter increase since the EBI’s inception. 

October 17, 2016 |

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In the midst of political and economic uncertainty, U.S. engineering firm leaders expressed newfound optimism in the current status and future potential of primary markets, according to the latest Engineering Business Index (EBI), just released by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC).

The 3rd Quarter 2016 (Q3/2016) EBI was 61.4, up 1.2 points from the Q2/2016 score of 60.2—which was the lowest score since ACEC launched the EBI in January 2014.

EBI is a diffusion index that charts the health of the engineering industry by consolidating senior leadership responses on market and firm performance into a single composite score. Any number above 50 indicates expansion. The Q3/2016 survey of 326 engineering firm leaders was conducted September 15 to October 5.

Market expectations for one year from today among engineering firm leaders rose a healthy 6.2 points to 63.3—the largest quarter-to-quarter increase since the EBI’s inception. The increased optimism for one year from today was reflected in nine of the 11 surveyed market sectors—a drastic turnaround from the Q2/2016 survey, when engineering leaders expected only one of the 11 sectors—energy and power—to improve over the coming year.

Among public markets, transportation was the strongest sector, up 2.1 points to 64.2. Other rising sectors include water/wastewater (up 0.9, to 63.0); healthcare construction (up 0.8, to 55.8), and education facilities (up 3.0, to 55.0).

Only the environmental sector fell, dropping 0.8 points to 54.3. Among private markets, firm leaders were most bullish about the buildings sector, up 4.4 points to 62.9, followed by energy and power (up 0.7, to 60.4), land development (up 1.2, to 60.2), and Industrial/Manufacturing (up 2.8, to 58.2).

For the complete summary of ACEC’s Q3/2016 Engineering Business Index (EBI), go to www.acec.org.

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