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Forecaster ties sustained construction growth curve to crew productivity gains

Sources: FMI Capital Advisors Inc., Raleigh, N.C.; CP staff

The Q3 FMI Construction Outlook sees year-over-year construction activities climbing 6 percent in 2015, up one point from a second quarter forecast, followed by a 7 percent increase in 2016—reaching the highest (inflation-adjusted) total since 2008.

“Improvements in productivity will be critical for achieving growth and sustaining margins in the years ahead,” says FMI President and Senior Managing Director Chris Daum. “We expect to see the use of new technologies and services expand, especially in highly competitive markets or where it has been difficult to find skilled workers.”

The Q3 FMI Construction Outlook cites growth in 17 sectors across residential, non-residential and non-building markets. Manufacturing continues to be the fastest-growing construction sector this year at 18 percent; others exhibiting strength, as indicated in double-digit growth over 2014 levels, include lodging, office, and amusement and recreation. With an expected 8 percent drop this year from 2014 levels, power construction remains in flux due to changing fuel supplies plus variable rates of growth in alternative energy sources.