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ACEC News / Market Forecast

September 23, 2020

Member Survey: Firm Finances Improve, But Pessimism About Economy Remains

In the latest ACEC Research Institute member survey, most firms reported that financial position is the same or better than before the COVID-19 pandemic, but fewer than one in five believe the market will “return to normal” within the next six months.

The survey of 411 members was conducted between September 15 and 17 by the ACEC Research Institute. It is the eighth in a series of surveys by the Institute to measure the impact of the pandemic on member firms.

Asked about their firms’ finances, 68 percent of firms said their finances are the same or better than on March 1 and 73 percent said their cash flow is the same or better.

Backlog levels vary widely among firms. While 29 percent say they have less than three months of backlog, 30 percent have 7 to 12 months, and 13 percent have more than 12 months. Larger firms have bigger backlogs than smaller firms.

Pessimism about a quick economic rebound, however, continues to grow. Only 19 percent of respondents expect a “return to normal” within six months, down from 37 percent in a mid-April survey. Nearly half of respondents (46 percent) said it will take another 12 to 18 months for the economy to return to normal.   

The pessimism extends to several market sectors, with 43 percent of respondents expecting a large decline in the commercial market and 39 percent expecting a big drop in the hospitality market. In other markets, 29 percent expect a decline in public facilities and 28 percent anticipate drops in the transportation and education markets.   

Click here to view the survey.


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