The stock market may be sputtering, but at least one aspect of the economy is humming along---construction. The building boom that started more than a year ago appears to still be in full swing, based on the 2019 Outlook from the Associated General Contractors (AGC). The annual report surveys construction firms around the country about their plans for the year ahead, along with their biggest concerns. This year, it finds that 79 percent of firms plan to hire in 2019, up from 75 percent at the start of last year and 73 percent at the start of 2017.
Diving deeper into the numbers, the construction outlook is especially positive here in Texas. "For the last several months Houston has been the number one metro market in the country for jobs added in construction," says Ken Simonson, chief economist for AGC.
Simonson tells KTRH all of that construction activity has an impact beyond those who work in the industry. "Construction not only pays about ten percent more than the average job, but construction buys a lot of equipment, goods and services," he says. "Further, the products that construction produces, whether buildings or highways, wind up making life better for every citizen...so construction activity is really good for the economy."
Still, there is one big issue facing the industry---finding labor. The AGC survey finds 78 percent of firms say they're having difficulty filling full-time positions, down from 83 percent last year. "The biggest problem contractors cite is finding workers," says Simonson. "The construction industry has help wanted signs hanging out all over the place."