Pulse of the Civil Engineering Industry

This article summarizes findings from an online survey of civil engineers and recent industry forecasts regarding the state of the civil engineering industry. Findings show that 56% of survey respondents indicate that they are dissatisfied with the way things were going at their companies or organizations. Although some firms received construction management contracts resulting from initial American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, most ARRA projects were “shovel ready” and thus civil engineering firms have not been impacted as positively as contractors. Funding for public and infrastructure projects and for private projects remain the two most important issues to the civil engineering industry, according to survey respondents. In 2009, 66% of respondents expected the industry to shrink or remain the same during the year. This year, 84% of respondents anticipate that the industry will not grow during the next year. Nevertheless, 23% of survey respondents forecast that their firms’ total revenue for engineering services will increase in the next year compared with last year. If civil engineering firms are able to increase revenue in 2010, it will likely be due to traditional infrastructure markets -- transportation and water -- with help from the quickly emerging alternative energy sector, survey respondents forecast. By a wide margin, respondents to the survey ranked maintaining a backlog as the greatest challenge facing their firms this year. This is made more difficult when 86% of respondents’ firms have experienced projects going “on hold” during the last six months. A growing number of firms that experienced layoffs or downsizing events during the last six months: 58% of respondents’ firms this year compared with 43% in 2009. These findings suggest that last year’s optimism for recovery in 2010 was premature. Expectations for increasing firm revenue and indications of continued federal support for transportation and renewable energy markets offer hope today that recovery is coming soon.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 8, 10, 12-13
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01153332
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 30 2010 3:14PM