The US construction industry seems to be recovering from the 2008 recession and showing signs of recovery as the industry continued to add jobs in the first quarter of 2013. The spending on construction was 6.6 percent higher in the first two months of the year 2013 compared to 2012. Other positive indicators show that 18,000 construction jobs were gained in the construction industry during the month from a DOL March report. The first quarter of 2013 received a total of 94,000 jobs in the industry. This marks the tenth straight month of job growth for the industry. Since September 2012, the construction industry gained 1,690,000 jobs.
Residential construction is a major contributor to job growth with a 7 percent increase starting in February 2013. The rise was due to the construction of multi-unit housing. A poll conducted by CDI showed 49 percent of the construction workers indicated that their companies are doing well compared to the last six months. The more interesting part of the poll was that 61 percent of workers indicated that their companies will do better in the next six months. The complete 1st Quarter 2013 CDI can be viewed at www.constructiondatacompany.com.
ABI (Architecture Billing Index) showed continuous growth for the seventh consecutive month. ABI was at 54.9% for the month of February 2013 which is the strongest billing growth since 2008. This is a very good sign for construction companies and employees as the job market will continue to grow in the coming months.
Sequestration is considered the major threat for the industry since the combination of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board government spending cuts scheduled to become effective Dec. 31, 2012, and could affect the industry. A few solicitations for federal consumption projects will bear a slight downward trend, but it’s too early to predict the total impact on the construction industry. Some industry influencers are predicting that the federal spending on construction might be cut down to $4 billion. It all depends upon the government’s decision on how they would improve the nation’s infrastructure. The plan is to reconstruct roads, bridges and also includes inviting private inventors to fund construction projects.
What this may mean for employers and employees as the construction industry continues to rebound, is that hiring will rise, and so will the rate of accidents in the industry. Do you have a written accident prevention plan in place and how will you train employees? OSHA.gov has a good template for writing an accident prevention plan and implement programs in the workplace. If you work in a state where there are approved state plans, look at the state’s website. You may be able to get free consulting services and free training resources.