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Iowa firms to lead hiring charge as construction market stabilizes


Forty-five percent of construction firms in Iowa – more than any other state – plan to increase their payrolls in 2011 as the U.S. construction market begins to stabilize and some contractors adjust their bids to generate more cash, according to the 2011 Construction Hiring and Business outlook report by the Associated General Contractors of America and Navigant Consulting Inc.

The report, which was based on a survey of nearly 1,300 construction firms in 49 states, found that 18 percent of Iowa construction firms plan to adjust their bids in order to increase profits this year.

And as a greater number of U.S. contractors are expected to embrace methods of lean construction and Building Information Modeling technology in 2011, while pursuing more public-private partnership projects and completing more projects vying for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, the national outlook is improving.

Fifty-eight percent of nation’s contractors expect the manufacturing sector to grow or remain stable in 2011, and 48 percent of contractors have the same forecast for the retail, warehouse and lodging segment.

“While the outlook for the construction industry is certainly brighter in 2011 than it has been for the past two years, the industry is still facing significant headwinds,” the report said. “On the positive side, construction employment may pick up a bit, markets are stabilizing – especially in key private sector areas – and contractors are feeling empowered to begin addressing their profit margins.”

The report found that only 5 percent of Iowa’s construction firms plan to layoff employees in 2011.

Other key findings for Iowa contractors in 2011:

-Sixty-seven percent of Iowa contractors plan to purchase construction equipment this year

-Seventy percent of Iowa contractors plan to lease or rent construction equipment

-Twenty-nine percent of Iowa contractors expect to perform stimulus-funded work

To view the survey results, click here.

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