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Nonresidential Construction Index Rises, Comes with Struggles

The Nonresidential Construction Index from FMI, an organization offering management consulting, investment banking and people development services to the engineering and construction industry, raised by two points in Q1. This normally is a positive economic sign. However, construction companies are facing the challenge of having enough people to keep up with increasing backlogs, warns Phil Warner, researcher for FMI.

The engineering and construction executives that comprise the NRCI panel are strongly optimistic about both the economy and their businesses. The diffusion indexes for the overall economy and the geographic economies where individual panelists do business rose more than six points, reaching 78.

The report discusses owners’ views on expectations for 2015 Construction Put In Place, top business challenges for 2015 and employment trends. Lack of a skilled workforce was among the top concerns. Other comments express some political angst. One panelist expressing, “Need a federal highway bill!” A different panelist says, “Another challenge is the increasing regulatory burdens placed on our clients and in turn our business. Some projects are taking almost two years to clear local planning hurdles. By the time the project is approved, budgets are obsolete, and the project may not be feasible.”