“Some people are starting to see a bit of an uptick in demand,” Parrish says. “In another six months, folks will be concerned about the presidential election, so they'll hold off [on investing] to see what happens.”
The majority of owners and developers are wary of taking on risk, executives say.
Parrish says he is concerned that a wait-and-see attitude will continue past the elections, however, and into the second quarter of 2013.
“There are more companies like ours [in New Jersey] that have more money on hand than the value of their stock,” Spearing says. “In our industry there is more willingness to take on part-time or temporary workers than full-timers” until the economy greatly improves.
That situation is pervasive across all sectors of the engineering and construction industry, executives say.
“In the private sector, you have a lot of American and international corporations sitting on large hoards of cash. There is a fear of the long-term commitment” that has a direct impact on the construction industry, says Joseph R. Jingoli Jr., CEO of Joseph Jingoli & Son in Lawrenceville. “You have a marketplace starving, just getting fed by dribs and drabs.”
Monaco agrees, but emphasizes that the state, with the help of an improved business climate, has begun to attract investments. “You are starting to see businesses look to New Jersey as a viable place to expand,” he says. “The problematic thing for the industry is that, when things start turning around in the economy, the industry is generally a year to 18 months behind.”
Thus, he says, regardless of the strides being made today, it may take a bit more time for better times to fully kick in for the industry.
|Total Construction in N.J.||Actual2007||Actual2008||Actual2009||Actual2010||Forecast2011|
|Commercial and Manufacturing||2,467||2,458||1,035||1,070||1,355|
|Stores and Shopping Centers||468||487||197||280||526|
|Office and Bank Buildings||709||423||404||305||317|
|Hotels and Motels||213||1,205||37||99||159|
|Other Commercial Buildings||925||306||354||337||319|
|Other Institutional Buildings||759||633||535||865||548|
|Highways and Bridges||1,125||1,451||1,894||1,808||1,833|
|Other Public Works||1,271||547||395||576||416|
|Environmental Public Works||843||526||641||570||570|