Small construction firms continue to recover from the Covid-19 economic shutdown, with both the demand for projects and additional workers on the upside.
These are among the findings of a new report just released by the Nashville-based National Federation of Independent Businesses that additionally shows the industry’s Optimism Index up by just over 9 points at the beginning of last month.
The Small Business Economic Trends Industry-specific report also revealed that some 46% of responding construction companies currently have job openings, while 24% are actively planning to hire more workers between now and November.
Perhaps surprisingly, 13% of respondents said they thought now was a good time to expand, up from 10%, who said the same thing in the group’s quarterly spring report.
“Demand for new construction has remained high,” says the report, Small Business Economic Trends.
That demand has largely been fueled by “record-low mortgage rates and a shortage of houses to buy due to a lack of qualified employees to assemble work teams to meet demand,” continues the report.
For those reasons, says the report “the construction industry has a better than average outlook than the rest of the economy.”
The report also looks at similar trends in the manufacturing, retail, and services industries, noting that 26% of responding manufacturers said they currently had plans to hire more workers.
The numbers, at 16% each, were smaller in the retail and services sectors.
In a statement, Holly Wade, director of research and policy analysis for NFIB, said, “Small businesses are working hard to stay open while they continue to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.”
But in a press release accompanying the report, the NFIB noted that “about one in five small business owners will have to shut their doors if current economic conditions do not improve over the next six months.”
Some 44% of respondents said they intended to soon either apply or re-apply for a second Paycheck Protection Program loan if eligible.
By Garry Boulard
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