Monday, September 15, 2008

Early impressions of PSMJ Quarterly Economic Indicator Survey

Looking at the third quarter Quarterly Economic Indicator Survey at the midpoint of the month(150 responses) here is my key read on our profession:

  • The usual areas are still going strong - health care, education, environmental, water/wastewater, energy/utilities. Water has slowed a bit, but is still strongly positive. Even Telecom is now positive and it was a drag on this sector the past couple of years.
  • The housing market is still in its steep rate of decline, we have not slowed the descent as yet. I think we are still over a year out from any decent work in this sector.
  • Commercial for both developers and owners has declined further since the last quarter. Clearly this sector is headed for a marked slow down over the next year.
  • Transportation has taken a surprising downturn. There are an increasing number of states that are stopping projects due to higher construction costs and the effects of lower gas tax revenues on programs. Last week's drain of the federal trust fund didn't help the mood, either. I think we will be down in this sector until someone decides how funds are going to be increased (then it will take off like a rocket).
  • Overall, we are negative in backlogs, and also in revenue growth quarter over quarter. Proposals have also turned negative overall.

Not much change, but what change there is is not positive, so I think we will see slower economic activity in our sector over the next year at least.

Bill Fanning, PSMJ Director of Research

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