Missouri Adds 3,000 Construction Jobs between June 2015 and June 2016
Missouri’s highway and building contractors remain optimistic for the construction industry’s economic outlook in a recent AGC of Missouri Contractor Confidence Index (CCI), looking six, 12 and 18-24 months ahead. However, the combined results of contractors in the Heavy/Highway/Infrastructure and Building Divisions are down 7.5 percent looking six months ahead (59.4 pts.), down 9.4 percent projecting 12 months ahead (58.6 pts.), and down 5.8 percent (59.4 pts.) looking 18-24 months down the road, as compared with 1st Qtr. survey results. The AGC of Missouri’s CCI Index was conducted online and at meetings in early July with member contractors, and compares to data collected three months ago.
According to Leonard Toenjes, CAE, president of the AGC of Missouri, any results over 50 pts. indicate a positive trend. “We’ve moved beyond the recession and our state added 3,000 construction jobs between June 2015 and June 2016, bringing statewide construction employment up to 116,200 workers (https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/Files/Communications/State_Empl_201606_Alpha.pdf),
This certainly indicates a slow, gradual recovery that is providing some help after many years of a construction depression. Slow-growth economic conditions and a lack of skilled workers still present major challenges facing our industry.”
Since the last survey, released on April 19, contractors in the AGC of Missouri’s Building Division have lowered their expectations. Projections on conditions for the next six months went from 67.86 pts.to 60.9 pts. The outlook for 12 months decreased from 65.48 pts.to 59.8 pts. Their outlook for 18-24 months slipped slightly from 59.52 pts.to 58.7 pts.
However, Toenjes is buoyed by the still optimistic outlook. “There is a considerable amount of hospital work underway, new developments planned around St. Louis’ CORTEX district and the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) facility to be built in St. Louis,” he said. “Missouri needs to reinvigorate its business climate, support business growth and attract new businesses in order for our builders to see an even healthier recovery.”
Contractors in the AGC of Missouri’s Heavy/Highway/Infrastructure are setting a less optimistic tone regarding future construction than they did just three months ago. Six-month projections went from 63.54 pts. to 55.6 pts., while the outlook for 12 months slipped from 68.75 pts. to 55.6 pts. Looking 18-24 months out, the highway builders lowered expectations from 71.8 pts. to 61.1 pts.
“The passage of the FAST Act and MoDOT’s spending down of some of its reserve funds has removed some of the uncertainty,” said Toenjes. “But Missouri needs to take a hard look at sustainable, long-term funding for roads, bridges, and other transportation needs,” noted Toenjes. “Highways like I-70 have fallen into disrepair and other interstates as well as state and local roads are showing their age. Missouri still ranks 4th highest in the nation in the number of structurally deficient bridges and the 11th highest in the nation in percentage of structurally deficient bridges. Not only is this a safety issue, but these rankings hurt our prospects for attracting new business and commerce.”
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