The Economic Road Ahead: 2021 and 2022
Construction economic forecasters looking into 2022 have their sights on industry growth and modest spending increases. While the construction industry fared pretty well overall in 2020, most construction companies are approaching growth with cautious optimism. In 2020 construction experienced modest declines across the commercial industry (24% overall) with office (9%) hotel (20%) and recreation (13%) being the hardest hit.
Residential and Remodel construction will see growth in sales in 2022. Projections find 6% growth in 2021 with an additional 10% in 2022.
Much of the growth in construction looks to how the individual states are using their funding. Alabama showed the largest increase in construction employment (6.4%) followed by Utah (6.1%), South Dakota, and Virginia (5.3%) increase with Virginia offering the most jobs (10,800).
The losses in construction show Vermont with a deep loss with over 23% of its industry workforce. New Jersey experienced a 10% loss. New York has the highest number of job loss in construction positions at 30,900, (7.5%) followed by Massachusetts a 7.8% drop. Read more here and here.
Demand for workers
Job loss and employment changes month to month. When looking at the current marketplace, the jobs are there. The workers are not. The construction industry has recovered close to 80% of the jobs lost during the pandemic. According to the ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu, “The number of available unfilled jobs openings in construction has been rising rapidly in recent months, but employment gains proved elusive in May.” This employment gap is making construction positions more valuable to employers who are raising wages and incentives to employ those ready and able to work.
Impact of Rising Material Costs and Construction Scheduling
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that the factories shutting down for pandemic related reasons in March 2020 severely impacted their abilities to provide materials to their clients. This serious deficit of materials led to the 200% increase in lumber costs since April 2020. As lumber cost went up so did the sales cost of residential homes by $24,386 and multifamily dwellings by $8,998.
The impact to construction scheduling and overall business practices is felt across the nation. Due to delays in materials, increase in costs, and changing safety protocols, closing out jobs is taking much longer as is confirming the start date for new construction.
What This Means for Online Construction Education
In 2020 Construction Experts Inc saw an increase in interested schools looking to offer online construction classes. Their demand for our classes increased as did demand for online education overall. During 2020 we updated our hallmark estimating classes as well as the Building Green Buildings and heavy civil classes including 108 Construction Equipment and Methods, and 109 Practical Applications of Heavy Civil Construction. The following classes showed a significant increase in enrollment:
101 Introduction to Construction Estimating showed a 100% increase for Fall 2020 enrollment
103 Construction Blueprint Reading showed a 10% increase for Fall 2020 enrollment
308 Construction Project Management showed a 10% increase for Spring 2020 enrollment
100 Introduction to Construction showed a 300% increase from Spring 2020 to Summer 2020
Our estimating classes showed a dip in Spring 2020 and rebounded in Summer and Fall terms to 2019 enrollment numbers.
114 Civil Estimating enrollment jumped 300%. The heavy civil industry sector is also seeing increase in employment rates. It is expected that a large portion of federal stimulus will fuel future heavy civil contracts.
Reviewing these statistics, we see students’ demand for construction estimating education is consistent. Heavy civil classes show strong increase as seen in both 114 Civil Estimating, 108 Construction Equipment, 109 Practical Applications, and 110 Civil Blueprint Reading and Materials. Providing construction professionals access to our online education programs improves job prospects, increases companies’ bottom lines, and strengthens the industry as a whole.