The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) third quarter survey of engineering firm CEO confidence indicates continued optimism for the strength of the architecture/engineering/construction (AEC) market, with total construction spending at high levels, growing profitability expectations and many firms with substantial backlogs of work that will carry well into the future.
The good news also comes with some caution based on uncertainties over whether the economy can sustain this growth and whether the pipeline of engineering talent will be sufficient to fuel demand into the future.
CEOs report an improved economy as compared to twelve months ago, including a larger backlog of business and strong profitability expectations over the next six months, twelve months and three years. The Engineering Business Index (EBI) survey, which is carried out quarterly for ACEC by FMI Corp., also highlights strong public sector markets, notably water and wastewater, as well as growth in most private market sectors, particularly health care and industrial/manufacturing.
“America’s engineering companies are busy right now, which is good news for the economy,” says ACEC President and CEO Linda Bauer Darr. “But market watchers and policymakers need to take notice of the undercurrent of concern within these strong numbers. In the near-term, is this growth run sustainable, and looking out over long-term, will we have sufficient numbers of engineers to support the key market sectors that are critical to a healthy economy?”