Engineering Sector Still Strong Despite Election Uncertainty

An election year can create a great deal of uncertainty, and it’s having an adverse impact on how engineers expect their industry to develop moving forward. The recently released American Council of Engineering Companies Engineering Business Index rated the current state of the sector with a score of 60.2. The 60.2 score for the second quarter of 2016 represents one of the lowest ratings the engineering sector has received in the past couple of years. But any rating over 50 reflects a positive attitude about the industry, with respondents expecting growth moving forward.

Expectations high, but somewhat uncertain, among engineers

The ACEC comes up with its Business Index rating through a quarterly survey of engineering companies asking them their expectations for themselves and the sector moving forward. The results of the survey are compiled into a composite score that illustrates where the industry is going.

That said, the overarching theme of responses was that the sector has basically been in the same positive situation for a while now, so the lower rating shouldn’t be seen as an issue. However, there was one major issue holding back positive expectations for the industry – the election.

According to the study, the uncertainty that usually surrounds election years is in full swing for this presidential cycle, and many engineering organizations are tempering their enthusiasm about future growth accordingly. Beyond this issue, the study also found that engineering firms are finding that their backlog of waiting projects is still growing, but not as quickly as it has in recent months. Conversely, profitability is rising. All of these issues are being impacted by the continued decline in oil and gas prices, creating challenges as the energy market uncertainty is problematic for engineers.

Preparing to sustain profitability

Training and continuing education play a pivotal role in helping engineering firms deal with what they can control – namely being excellent at what they do so they stand out from competitors. Training and staff development build a foundation for this excellence, empowering firms to stay ahead of the skills that are in demand in the sector and position them to maximize profitability.

For more information on engineering training, view RedVector’s complete AEC Training Library.

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