Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Yet more bad news for the AEC industry

Not sure if everyone saw the news that came out last week, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the construction sector lost 43,000 jobs last month. Construction employment is now down 528,000 jobs since September 2006. Combined with the ongoing decline in the AIA Architecture Billings Index, the problems facing the AEC industry show no sign of letting up anytime soon.

Yet, in talking with A/E firm leaders the past few weeks for the August issue of PSMJ as well as our forthcoming Circle of Excellence book, it's obvious that the problems are not universal. Firms working in the energy and higher education markets are doing very well for themselves. Unfortunately, the problems in residential real estate are so pervasive that they are dragging down the entire AEC industry.

From reading the tea leaves and talking with firm leaders facing with letting people go, it doesn't appear to be turning around imminently, either. Financial experts say the markets may hit rock bottom at some point in the next six months, but some A/E firm leaders believe in may be another 12-24 months before we've seen the worst of it.

Seems as though the days of cutting out early and hitting the golf course are least for some firm owners this summer, anyway.


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