The seeming boundless optimism of the construction industry has been sorely tested over the past two and a half years. The market recession that hit nearly every market in every region of the U.S. has cast a pall over the industry, which has seen projects and opportunities dry up, firms large and small fall by the wayside and unemployment rates in the trades of over 20%. The mantra for recovery has been “Wait till next year.”
But amid this gloom, a new sense of hope is beginning to appear in the industry, according to the most recent ENR Construction Industry Confidence Index survey. The CICI for the first quarter of 2011 rose dramatically to 51 on a scale of 100, from 43 last quarter. This uptick represents the first time since ENR began measuring industry sentiment in March 2009 the CICI has risen above 50, which suggests a stable market. The 679 executives of large construction and design firms responding to the survey believe the market has bottomed out and recovery will begin this year.