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June 17, 2021

Design Industry Revenues Up, Residential Still Hot, and Public Spending Down

Total design industry revenues are beginning to rise, the residential market is still getting hotter, and public spending is down according to recent economic data released from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s ‘advance estimate’ of total A/E revenues for Q1 2021 is $83.14B, a 4.3% increase from Q4 2020 (the previous quarter). This is the first substantial increase since the COVID-19 recession began in Q2 2020; A/E revenues were flat in Q3 and Q4 of last year, having declined about 11% during the recession. This may signal the beginning of a slow growth back up to peak 2019 levels.

Residential spending on design and construction continued to climb according to Census’ Construction Put-in-Place numbers for April 2021 (released this month), showing a year-over-year monthly increase of 29.7%. In contrast, the same data shows that public design and construction spending has been down three consecutive months (February, March and April 2021) after growing modestly in 2020, likely due to states and localities realizing the impact of lower tax revenues collected during the pandemic recession.

Click here to listen to the most recent Private Markets Update on the Engineering Influence podcast, in which ACEC Private Market Resources Vice President Erin McLaughlin dives deeper into the numbers.

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

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June 17, 2021



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