With 2017 almost halfway through, the construction industry is going through some substantial changes. While spending failed to meet expectations in 2016, Dodge Data & Analytics forecasted a 5% growth in construction starts for 2017.
Here are the top trends for the industry to keep an eye on as we move closer to 2018.
- Growth will Improve Moving Towards 2018
The improved growth for 2017 is expected to continue into next year for both residential and non-residential construction.
This is a positive sign after 2016’s growth wasn’t nearly as significant as the previous years. 2014 saw 11% growth, while 2016 ended around 4.4%. Office, healthcare and hospitality/lodging are the industries that are expected to see the largest increase in construction spending this year.
- The Labor Shortage Will Continue to Affect the Industry
One trend that has continued through 2017 is the current labor shortage for skilled workers. The trend originated from a large portion of the workforce being forced to exit in search of other job opportunities. During the recession, skilled laborers moved on after not being able to find work, and unfortunately, a significant chunk has not returned.
Compounding the issue, a lack of technical training and a reduced emphasis on trade labor are contributing to the reduced pool of labor choosing to enter the industry. Combined with an aging workforce as well, those three factors are creating unique challenges for construction firms looking for skilled workers to execute work.
On the bright side, the shortage has created several opportunities for millennials and young people choosing a career path. From skilled trades to project management, the construction industry presents exciting career growth potential.
- Construction Costs Will Increase
One common concern for the future is the increasing operating expenses for construction firms due to materials and labor.
After years of relatively slow growth, construction costs were expected to rise in 2017. Inflation is also a concern moving forward because it could slow the rate of new projects in the coming years. The skilled-labor shortage has also added to increased costs with wage increases needed to recruit labor.
If the cost of construction continues to grow, more people will consider postponing new projects until a better time.
- Job Sites Will Continue to Become Safer
Moving towards 2018, scrutiny for safety violations will continue to increase as attention to job site safety continues to grow.
The four leading causes of worker deaths in the construction industry are falls, being struck by objects, electrocutions and getting caught in/between objects. Construction firms will need to continue to make an increased commitment to protecting workers and reducing accidents.
Provided by Steve Sperling