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The State of the E&C Industry 2022

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recruiting construction & engineering

 

The more things change, the more they stay the same!” That seems to be the legacy of 2021 for “industries across the board” as we like to say when describing the scope of our heavy industry recruiting services here at Resource Erectors. 

As we put the workforce and supply chain turbulence generated by the questionable “pandemic” in 2020-2021 behind us, the heavy industry sector still has to deal with the lingering manpower shortages that have plagued sectors like manufacturing, transportation, and construction since long before the Chinese “covid” flu came to US shores. 

The Latest AGC Construction Job Numbers 

“Construction employment increased in 237, or 66 percent, of 358 metro areas over the last 12 months” – AGC 

The Association of General Contractors (AGC) is a group tempered by and well accustomed to meeting and overcoming the challenges of construction in the new green post-covid economy. While construction materials shortages, price spikes, covid shutdowns, and logistical kinks in international supply chains continued to be a burden on the sector in 2021, construction jobs were one category where there was no shortage of opportunities.

“It isn’t surprising that construction employment has picked up in most metros over the past year, given the strong economic rebound most of the country has experienced. But with record job openings in construction, it’s clear that even more metros should be in the plus column if contractors could find the workers they need and get materials delivered on schedule.”- AGC chief economist Ken Simonson-December 27, 202 

Construction job increases ranged from 5 to 19 percent across the country, with metros such as Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, California, adding an impressive 7,300 construction jobs in 2021. 

construction jobs recruiting

If you rank by increased job percentage, the wave of new construction jobs surged from coast to coast:

  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota, added 2,000 jobs and had the highest percentage increase at 19 percent.
  • Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas up 3,200 jobs for 16%
  • Atlantic City-Hammonton, New Jersey added 800 jobs to reach 16%.
  • Waterbury, Connecticut was up 500 jobs to meet the 16% mark

“We are doing everything we can to recruit people into high-paying construction careers, but exposing more students to construction skills will certainly help.”- Stephen Sandherr- AGC CEO.

AGC continues to lobby the federal government for more equity in funding to expose students with talent and potential to career paths as construction professionals. As they struggle to fill new construction jobs, AGC points out that:

 “Federal officials put six dollars into collegiate education and preparation for every dollar they currently invest in career and technical education.”

The recruiting drive for fresh talent is a high priority for sectors including construction, manufacturing, and shipping, as AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr stated in the Pit and Quarry report. 

While the construction industry is accustomed to dealing with various “spending gaps”, not to mention the decades-old US infrastructure crisis,  bridging the federal funding gap for career and technical education is essential to maintain the strong recovery initiated in 2021. 

Engineering and construction are forecasted to go well beyond mere “recovery” and into the lucrative territory of robust growth in 2022. 

Engineering and Construction Industry Growth in 2022

“Strong growth amid headwinds” is how Deloitte sums up the 2022 forecast for engineering and construction. Total construction spending peaked at $1.57 trillion in July 2021. That set a record high that finally signaled a strong recovery, coming in at 12% higher than 2019 pre-pandemic averages. And that positive outlook is contagious in the engineering and construction, or E&C sector. 

“In a recent survey, 91% of E&C respondents characterize the business outlook for their industry as somewhat or very positive, 23% higher than last year.” Deloitte Report – 2022 engineering and construction industry outlook- Preparing for another strong year

The Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Acts (IIJA) will provide $550 billion,  a significant boost for the E&C sector in areas ranging from public health to public infrastructure. 

utilities construction

According to the National Association of Counties (NACo), new investment allocations include:

  • All modes of transportation
  • Water
  • Power and energy
  • Environmental remediation
  • Public lands
  • Broadband and resilience

That’s good news and could provide a sorely needed acceleration for the nonresidential construction sector, one that has played second fiddle to the US single-family housing boom that dominated the construction industry in 2021. Nonresidential spending growth failed to keep pace for much of 2021. Spending for sectors including educational, office, transportation, health care, and commercial facilities actually observed the largest year-over-year (YoY) decline in July 2021. 

With limited supply chains for essential MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) materials, commercial grades of materials such as PVC pipe, paint, steel, resin, aluminum, lumber, and others took a back seat to residential demands as manufacturers struggled to stretch resources and production output. 

While federal funding is now on the table, material shortages and delivery delays are still the remaining 2 major “headwinds” that E&C organizations will continue to deal with in 2022. The Deloitte summary cites an Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) survey indicating that 75% of E&C firms project delays due to longer lead times or shortages of materials. 57% of firms surveyed reported delivery delays, indicating that the industry has difficulty predicting when materials would arrive. 

And when those essential building materials do arrive, will they have the human resources available to foster robust growth in 2022? 

Better call…

Resource Erectors

At Resource Erectors we maintain longstanding connections with the industry-leading companies in civil construction, engineering, aggregates, construction materials, manufacturing, mining, and more. Over 85% of Resource Erectors candidates continue to contribute to the success of the companies we’ve placed them with 5 years later. If you’re a highly qualified professional ready to make a lucrative career move we can point you to the best-matched companies seeking your particular skills, experience, and talent. 

 Our specialized recruiting and placement services for heavy industry professionals ranging from the c-suite to plant management to technical supervision and expertise in the field help you reduce the risks and expenses of a bad hire, not to mention eliminating the high cost of vacancies in essential positions in your organization’s production hierarchy. When you’re ready to build your next professional dream team or make a strategic career move to take advantage of exciting opportunities in 2022 you’re ready for Resource Erectors so don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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