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ACEC Releases Monthly Economic Update for the Engineering and Design Industry

Workforce and inflationary pressures persist for engineering industry, while total design and construction investment rises

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Washington, DC – Recently, the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) released a new monthly video economic update. Each month, ACEC Vice President of Private Market Resources Erin McLaughlin analyzes the latest industry data and provides insights for the engineering and design industry.

Here are the toplines from this month’s update:

  • 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.
  • Unemployment was at just 3.6% in March near record lows, according to the Labor Department. Economists generally consider full employment when we observe an unemployment rate of 4%. The category that the engineering industry falls into, professional and related services, is at just 1.6% unemployment.
  • Inflation continues to rise, with the Consumer Price Index up more than 8% over the last 12 months, the fastest annual gain in more than 40 years. Though politicians have suggested or moved forward on lowering or suspending the gas tax, ACEC does not believe that would not be a prudent way to lower the cost of gas. In fact, just 14% of the economists surveyed by NABE recommended lowering or suspending the gas tax to mitigate rising gas prices. The more favored approach was to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
  • 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 (+16.6%), along with private non-residential (+9.7%). Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The video series is one of ACEC’s resources for media and members, which also includes ACEC’s popular Private Industry Briefs. The briefs provide analysis on five key markets: Commercial and Real Estate; Intermodal and Logistics; Energy and Utilities; Health Care and Science+Technology; and K-12 & Higher Education.

Later this month, the ACEC private markets team will hold a symposium discussing the health care, science and technology markets in Boston, Mass.

Learn more about ACEC’s full slate of private market offerings here.


Resource Type

Press Release

Topic Area

Economic Insight


April 14, 2022

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