A national survey by the Associated General Contractors of America found that fewer construction firms expect to layoff workers in 2012 compared to recent years, with many expecting key market segments to expand this year, reported the Triad Business Journal.
In North Carolina, the survey found that 41 percent of construction firms laid off employees during 2011, while only 12 percent anticipate layoffs in the coming year. On the hiring side, 31 percent of firms in the state added employees in 2011, though only 19 percent expect to hire more workers in 2012.
“While there are some promising signs, especially when it comes to construction employment, the outlook for the industry is mixed,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the association. “More than four years after demand for commercial construction began to plummet, economic conditions remain difficult.”
Nationally, only 9 percent of firms expect layoffs in 2012, compared with 37 percent last year and 55 percent in 2010.
Close to 40 percent of construction firms in North Carolina reported that bank credit has been an issue for their customers. Other challenges identified included the price of construction materials, with 40 percent of N.C. firms reporting that those prices increased between 6 and 10 percent during 2011, and 43 percent expecting those prices to rise at that same level during 2012.
As for the outlook, the largest portion — 44 percent — expect the construction market to grow again in 2014. Only 11 percent expect that growth to come in 2012 and 30 percent expect growth in 2013.
“There are definitely some conflicting trends when it comes to contractors’ expectations for 2012,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the association. “The construction industry will improve his year but we are going to have to wait until at least 2013 before contractors experience the kind of recovery this industry needs.”
Access the full report and state-by-state data here. Read More.