From start to finish, 2016 has delivered plenty of surprises to the world. There were technological innovations, medical breakthroughs, economic milestones, and promising plans for our industry’s future.
And yet, here’s what happens if you were to Google autocomplete the phrase “2016 was”:
2016 was a bad year
2016 was the worst year
2016 was a mistake
2016 was a weird year
2016 was a good year
Sure, 2016 may have felt like a punch to the gut for some. And the nation may be in a contentious dispute over the highs and lows of the year in review. But it’s time for balance. Especially because this year the construction industry has made great strides and left us with much to be hopeful about in the future.
Before we put 2016 behind us with cheers of Auld Lang Syne, take a look at this list of 5 statistics that will change the way you look at the year – for the better.
Big number, right? That’s the amount spent on construction put in place during the first 10 months of this year. That is a 4.5 percent increase from the same period in 2015, and has helped our industry contribute 4.2 percent to the U.S. GDP. Of this amount, over 75 percent is attributed to the private sector.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
For the past eight years, our industry has been battling the Great Recession. In October, for the first since 2008 the construction industry employed over 6,704,000 workers. Industry unemployment is down to 5.7 percent, and is considerably faster than the overall economy’s 1.6 percent job growth rate.
Source: U.S. BLS
Credit where credit is due. Thanks to the efforts of OSHA and your teams, the average of annual fatalities on the job went down from 842 in 2015 to 605 in 2016. There’s more work to be done, but if you keep enforcing a strong safety culture in 2017, this number will continue to fall.
Things are looking up. According to the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) the Construction Confidence Index (CCI) is 63. This indicates that the average contractor is confident in growth moving into 2016. The CCI index measures forward-looking construction industry expectations in sales, profit margins and staffing levels, with readings above 50 indicating growth.
In 2016, overall industry backlog expanded to 8.7 months. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average age of all fixed assets, including structures such as factories and hospitals, stands at 23 years. That means that along with the backlog there will be a greater industry for renovations in the near future. This doesn’t even include the proposed $1 trillion investment!
The overarching theme in 2016 was progress. There will be some headwinds moving into the new year: the labor shortage, slow growth, inflation, and materials prices. However, thanks to you and your teams the construction industry is poised for success in 2017.