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Key highlights from FMI's 4th Quarter, 2021 North American Engineering & Construction Outlook:

  • Total engineering and construction spending for the U.S. is forecast to end 2021 up 3%, compared to up 6% in 2020.
  • Strong growth across the residential sector, especially within single-family and improvements, will continue to uphold industry spending levels in 2021. No segments within nonresidential building or nonbuilding structures are expected to realize spending growth exceeding 4% this year.
  • Commercial, health care, manufacturing, sewage and waste disposal, and water supply are all expected to end the year with low growth, between 0% and 4%. While these low growth rates are considered stable, they are now meeting or slightly below anticipated inflationary levels for 2021

The latest Nonresidential Construction Index (NRCI) feedback suggests ongoing, albeit challenged, optimism heading into the fourth quarter of 2021, at 53.8, down from 59.7 in the quarter prior. The NRCI reflects short-term weakening economic and industry sentiment but remains expansionary and suggests increased opportunities ahead.