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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented disruption in America’s economy, which extended to the engineering industry. To gauge the effect of the economic shutdown on design firms, the ACEC Research Institute – the research arm of the American Council of Engineering Companies – conducted a series of surveys to accurately measure the pandemic’s effect on the industry. The summary of those surveys is now available.

“The Business Impact Surveys are the first of their kind to accurately measure our industry’s response to a real time crisis,” said ACEC Research Institute Chair John Carrato. “The data collected from week to week enabled firm executives to plan with knowledge of how their peers were reacting to the economic shutdown and Federal assistance programs.”
Over seven waves of polls, the Business Impact Survey delivered a weekly measurement of the engineering industry as it navigated the challenges of hiring, workplace culture, operations, travel and overall economic sentiment.

“The pandemic was an unforeseen and unique challenge for our industry,” said Charles Gozdziewski, ACEC’s Board Chair. “Firm executives were forced into uncharted waters, adapting to forced changes to workplace operations, commuting, project work and financial planning. The Business Impact Surveys gave our members a roadmap to check their own planning against industry trends on a weekly basis. Its value underscored the importance of the Institute’s mission.”

Now that the final survey has been analyzed, the ACEC Research Institute is pleased to release its executive summary, which tells a story of an industry that quickly pivoted to absorb the initial shock of the economic shutdown, utilized federal assistance through the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program, and looked to turn challenge into opportunity by expanding into new business lines.

The executive summary and a supporting infographic can be downloaded here.


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June 8, 2020

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