Better Roads Staff
But agency respondents also indicate that they don’t foresee too much change in their work with contractors, as 66.9 percent expect to deal with the same number of contracting companies as they did last year, and 68.6 percent say they foresee now changes in the way they work with contractors.
And the experts say….
Economists and other assorted seers say 2013 could be a pretty good year – if politicians don’t get in its way.
The New York Times for example says that, “The nascent housing rebound, the natural gas boom, record profit margins, a friendlier credit market for small businesses, along with pent-up demand for autos and other big purchases, could in combination unleash growth and hiring that the economy needs.”
Growth forecasts vary from a hesitant 1 percent to an optimistic 3 percent being reached by the end of the year.
There is however a consensus of something in the order of 2.5 percent for the year, achieved with a strong fourth quarter after a ploddingly slow first quarter.
That Q1 slowness is largely blamed on the same factors that so seriously slowed the last quarter of 2012, including Europe’s woes, a slowdown in China’s economic growth and companies making moves to be ready for a preparing for the fiscal cliff dive. Most forecasters see the first quarter limping along at about 1 percent, actually much slower than the last quarter of 2012, prior to beginning something of an expansion in summer.
According to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), just the threat of the fiscal cliff’s tax increases and federal spending cuts affected construction employment. An AGC survey of 551 construction firms between November 28 and December 6 found that 54 percent of firms reported the threat of tax hikes had forced them to adjust their business plans.
Among those firms, 67 percent reported postponing hiring, 65 percent reported delaying or cancelling capital expenditures and 32 percent reported having already made layoffs. (Similarly high numbers of companies that had not made these moves say they would if we drove off the cliff.)
So a large number of construction companies go into 2013 hobbled by moves the fiscal cliff brinkmanship forced them to make, and others moves into the New Year after a period of watchful waiting that would have limited their strategies.
A potential upside is that companies that put off growth plans will probably be able to put them into action as the year progresses.
Do you anticipate that the levels of highway and bridge work (construction, repair, maintenance) put up for bid by your state in 2013 will increase, decrease or stay about the same?
Stay about the same 45.5%
Do you expect funding available for transportation infrastructure work in our region will be more, less or about the same in 2013 as it was in 2012?
About the same 43.9%
Will you employ more or less people in 2013?
It will be the same 56.1%
How many more will you employ?
Significantly more 17.6%
Just a few more 76.5%
Just one or two 5.9%
Do you anticipate that levels of highway and bridge construction/maintenance/repair work put up for bids by your agency in 2013 will increase, decrease or stay about the same, compared to 2012? Increase 31.4%
Stay about the same 50.0%
Do you anticipate that the majority of highway and bridge construction/maintenance/repair work put up for bids by your agency in 2012 will change in makeup (e.g. more of some sort of work and less of another)?
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