A survey of more than 200 engineering firms conducted by the American Council of Engineering Companies reveals that many companies nationally are feeling pensive about immediate business conditions, particularly in the water and wastewater project sectors.
With a score above 50 indicating positive market sentiment, the newest Engineering Business Index, compiled in early and mid-January, showed an overall drop of 66 to 58 from the last quarter report.
The ACE said that decline represented both the swiftest drop and lowest rating since the survey was first launched in 2014.
With the exception of transportation work, responding engineering firms said they expected to see a loss of business in energy and power sectors, as well as land development and surveying work.
According to the report, Engineering Firm Leader Confidence Drops, profitability expectations for the next six months have declined from a score of 73 to 52, while backlog projections for the coming year went from 68 to 62.
Individual respondents said that one of the factors animating the decline in industry optimism was the ongoing rancor in Washington resulting from the government shutdown.
One respondent to the survey said if the nation’s politicians could “somehow get on the same page, then we could see another bull market and increases in private development and construction.”
By Garry Boulard
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