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ACEC News / Industry Statistics

June 1, 2020

ACEC Macro-Economic Update: 2020 Started Strong A/E Industry | Q1 GDP Revised Downward

By Erin McLaughlin

A/E Revenues Started Strong in 2020

A/E firm revenues were 8.1% stronger during the first quarter of 2020, when compared to the first quarter of 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The total A/E revenues in the first quarter totaled $88.22 billion according to the Census’ Quarterly Selected Services Estimates, Advance Report released May 20th.

This shows a strong start to what would be an unprecedented quarter, as many states began shutdowns a few weeks before the first quarter ended on March 31st.

GDP Revision Shows 5% Decline in Q1

Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased 5.0 percent in the first quarter of 2020, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in a blog post on May 28th. The change was 0.2 percentage point lower than the “advance” estimate released in April.

BEA noted that the decrease is primarily due to a sharp contraction in consumer spending – led by a lack of activity in the health care sector. Healthcare spending accounted for nearly half the drop in first-quarter GDP. Some may think this is surprising—since we are in a public health crisis—however there has been little spending on elective and routine health care services, and health care spending makes up 17.7 percent of our nation’s GDP, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Erin McLaughlin is ACEC Vice President Private Market Resources.

All comments to blog posts will be moderated by ACEC staff.

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