Construction inches lower but tailwinds provide solidity

Jun 24, 2024 | Buildings & Construction

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Heading into the second half of 2024, the construction sector remains in solid shape: Yes, job openings aren’t at their nosebleed levels of early last year but still numbered 338,000 at the end of April. And yes, the Associated Builders and Contractors’ index tracking backlogs has come in a bit but its measures of firms’ confidence in sales and staffing are holding up decently.

“Economists are asking whether indications of softening in certain parts of the economy might cause deterioration in the overall labor market and whether the virtuous cycle of consumer spending and job growth will persist,” ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said recently. “May’s report indicates that we remain in that virtuous cycle.”

And there’s a solid chance much of the sector will continue to sit in a pretty sweet spot: The leaders of Commercial Metals Co. said in mid-June that this year’s construction season is off to a good start and that several tailwinds continue to provide support.

“We are seeing encouraging signs of increased infrastructure activity driving demand,” CEO Peter Matt said.” We expect this momentum to build over the coming quarters, contributing to an already healthy demand backdrop in North America, which is being propelled by positive long-term structural trends in manufacturing, reshoring, energy transition and energy security-related projects.”

Here are a handful of recent stories from Endeavor brands about these trends as well as market reports taking the pulse of the country’s largest electrical distributors and electrical design firms: 

ContractorABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator inches lower but points to more growth through ’24

ContractorNonresidential construction added 17,100 jobs in May

Electrical MarketingNEMA indexes for May point toward solid if unspectacular climate

Electrical MarketingBillions in data center work dwarfs activity in other construction verticals

Electrical Wholesaling’s 2024 Top 100 Distributors – The EW team’s ranking of the 100 largest electrical distributors in North America unearths an ongoing urge to merge as well as a hint that growth might slow somewhat late this year.

EC&M’s 2024 Top 40 Electrical Design Firms – Titled “Squeezing out growth,” EC&M’s special report — full disclosure: you’ll need to register — tells a similar story. The dominant U.S. electrical design practices have been growing revenues again but are tempering their outlook amid some uncertainty.

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