Welcome to ACEC’s March economic update. Each month, ACEC’s Erin McLaughlin analyzes the latest industry data and provides insights for the engineering and design industry. Here are the 4 things you need to know:
Number 1 –
- Reduced immigration is causing economic challenges according to a new survey from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). Eighty percent of survey respondents said reduced immigration during the pandemic has constrained economic activity and contributed to wage pressures. The engineering industry has an ongoing and growing shortage of talent, and the constrained immigration pattern of the last few years has exacerbated labor supply challenges.
Number 2 –
- Unemployment was at just 3.6% in March near record lows, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Economists generally consider full employment to be 4%. For the engineering industry, our work falls into the category of professional and related services. That category has just 1.6% unemployment.
Number 3 –
- Inflation continues to rise, with the Consumer Price Index, or CPI, up more than 8 percent over the last 12 months, the fastest annual gain in more than 40 years. CPI data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and tracks prices across different categories including gas. Though politicians have suggested – or moved forward on – lowering or suspending the gas tax, ACEC does not believe that would not be a prudent or effective way to lower the cost of gas. In fact, just 14% of the economists surveyed by NABE recommended lowering or suspending the gas tax as a way to mitigate rising gas prices. The more favored approach was to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
And, number 4:
- Total design and construction spending was up more than 11% this February, compared to the same time last year. The category remains driven by private residential spending which is up almost 17%, along with private non-residential up nearly 10%.
There you have it. The economic update series is one of ACEC’s resources for media and members. For a deeper dive, check out the full video on YouTube and all of ACEC’s popular Private Industry Briefs.
And we hope to see you later this month when the ACEC private markets team will hold a symposium discussing the healthcare, science and technology markets in Boston, Mass.
To learn more about ACEC’s full slate of private market offerings visit our website at ACEC.org.
Thanks, and we’ll see you again in May.