Winners and Losers: The New Construction Metrics Index Reveals Key Industry Stats

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It should have been a year of recovery for the construction industry, and for the world. Instead, 2021 was plagued by new COVID variants, wild fluctuations in material costs, supply-chain issues, hiring woes, and record inflation.

The Highlights: 2021 Construction Project Trends by Vertical

First, the good news: New projects grew across the construction industry in 2021.

Heavy highway and civil contractors saw 3% more new projects than in 2020. New projects are also projected to grow 3% to 7% in 2022, largely influenced by the passage of the infrastructure bill.

Specialty contractors had 8% fewer projects in 2021 than in 2020; however, new projects are expected to increase by 10% in Q1 2022.

General contractors did not fare as well.

GCs saw 19% fewer new projects in 2021, which can largely be attributed to the labor shortage. Going into 2022, new project volume is expected to stay roughly the same, but could increase if the labor market improves.

While projects varied throughout the year by vertical, all verticals experienced increases in projects in Q3 and decreases in projects in Q4 as compared to the same time period in 2020.

Construction Hiring was Mixed in 2H 2021

Hiring in 2021 increased 13% year-over-year, across the construction industry. However, the increase in newly hired workers was not enough to offset the number of people retiring or otherwise leaving the industry. Ultimately, the result was a net hiring decrease of 52% in 2021 as compared to 2020.

Most of the decreases came from Q3 and Q4, as Q3 decreased by 22% and Q4 decreased by 13%.

Despite these declines, overall hiring is projected to increase by 10% in Q1 2022. This is supported by a recent Trimble Viewpoint survey, which found that 53% of respondents expect to hire more in 2022.

For more details on these and other key construction industry statistics from Q3-Q4 2022, get the latest Trimble Viewpoint Construction Metrics Index.

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Charity Heller leads the Viewpoint content team. She is passionate about engaging new audiences and creating relationships through storytelling, data, strategy, and inclusion.