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Construction industry looks to gain steam as economy improves

December 10, 2014

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The construction industry has been one of the hardest hit since the Great Recession, with many employers shedding jobs and planning for a tighter economic future. However, recent conditions have greatly improved the outlook for construction firms across the country, and a surge in jobs and activity may be coming around the corner.

At Clark Schaefer Hackett, we have worked with members of the construction industry for decades, helping advise on crucial topics such as succession planning, tax strategies and cash flow. As a result, we understand the ups and downs you experience on a yearly basis, not just from the economy, but also from the seasons and other common trends.

That can make it challenging to remain up-to-date on current events taking place in the construction industry. To help with this task, we’ve dedicated a portion of our time to keeping an eye on the news. Here are a couple developments that we thought may be of interest to you:

Employment starts to increase in many states
The Great Recession took its toll on construction jobs in the U.S. However, since that time, employment has been steadily making gains in many states across the country.

A recent analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data from the Associated General Contractors of America found that 37 states had construction employment gains over the past 12 months, including Washington, D.C. The largest increases on a yearly basis belonged to Florida and North Dakota, with Texas and Idaho reporting the most improvements from October to November. On the other hand, New York and New Jersey lost the most construction jobs over the past year.

“These year-over-year and one-month changes show that construction is doing well in most of the country,” explained Ken Simonson, chief economist for AGC of America. “Yet, the list of states that have added construction jobs varies from month to month, showing that the industry’s recovery remains vulnerable to worker shortages and unfavorable governmental actions.”

While the majority of states have experienced gains, there is a bit of inconsistency throughout the U.S. as a whole. AGC of America officials pointed to new regulations, waning public sector investments in the industry and a lack of skilled workers as several reasons why.

Ohio website promotes construction industry
Trained, high-quality employees are just as important to overall construction job growth as a more stable economy. This is why one Ohio-based website – called buildohio.org – is working to promote the construction industry as a viable career path for high school students.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, the website offers answers to many of the key questions students may have about this industry. For example, online users can find out average salaries for many professions, as well as a rundown of the pros of this line of work. The organization behind the site is the Associated General Contractors of Ohio, along with the Ohio Contractors Association and other firms.

“There was no statewide resource or clearinghouse of information people could go to if they were interested in construction,” Andrea Ashley, vice president of government relations for the AGC of Ohio, told the media outlet.

As conditions improve, construction companies will have more open jobs – the trick is then finding the right people to fill those roles. Ideally, resources like buildohio.org will help employers in the future.

Construction firms must plan ahead
The ebb and flow of the construction industry makes it one of the most challenging in the country. For employers, it is always important to look ahead.

With Clark Schaefer Hackett, you can team with advisors to ensure your organization is well-positioned for the future. Our experts can work with you to discuss job profitability, your tax burden, succession planning and many other forms of guidance. Then, you can rest easy knowing your company is headed on the right path.

All content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. Matters discussed in this article are subject to change. For up-to-date information on this subject please contact a Clark Schaefer Hackett professional. Clark Schaefer Hackett will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this site.

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