Fool Me Once

Fool Me Once

January 10, 2014

“In recent years, the nation’s leading construction CFOs have approached each New Year with surging confidence only to be disappointed as certain years began in lackluster fashion. Chastened by repeated episodes of disappointment, CFOs are not approaching 2014 with a surging sense of confidence.”

So begins the item posted by the Construction Financial Management Association reporting that its December CONFINDEX remained flat, although trending slightly down since March 2013.

This news is discouraging, although it corresponds with Construction Equipment’s Annual Report & Forecast. We report hope across all of the major construction vocations, but it’s tempered by lack of leadership at the federal level, abysmal finances at the state and municipal levels, and a stretch of unemployment and weak job growth not seen for 40 years.

With those rather large caveats understood, the industry seems to be encouraged heading into Conexpo. This triennial show usually reveals the temperature of the construction equipment market, and the 2014 version will not disappoint.

Here are some key findings from our Annual Report & Forecast that provide reason for optimism in 2014:

Equipment managers expect to expand and replace fleet at rates not seen since 2007.

In transportation, bridge builders expect record spending.

Three-quarters of those in water infrastructure expect a good, very good, or excellent year.

Housing appears to be sustaining its recovery, and 60 percent are optimistic.

Continuing gains in remodeling has 70 percent expecting to grow revenue.

In nonresidential, 68 percent expect to be able to raise bids pricing.