Construction industry optimism dims for 2012
Upstate SC: Business Confidence Falling
(USC – Down 2.9%)
Upstate SC panelists reported falling labor demand, moderately rising construction materials and equipment prices, and diminished optimism concerning industry conditions projected for 2012. While there is a bright spot — private construction has risen in the region — it’s somewhat overshadowed by slightly falling highway spending. Labor market conditions seem significantly weaker than last quarter, with reports of greater difficulty in hiring skilled workers, rising labor costs, and an expectation that labor cost inflation will continue into 2012. Demand for heavy equipment and inventory purchases declined, a trend expected to continue throughout 2011.
Lowcountry SC: Stable Hiring Conditions, Wage Rates
(LSC – Down 2.4%)
Lowcountry contractors fared similarly with their Upstate neighbors by reporting moderately rising construction materials and equipment prices. Opposite the Upstate, the Lowcountry region saw falling private sector activity, but rising highway spending. Hiring conditions compared to last quarter remained unchanged, wage rates remained stable, and there was less conviction that costs will increase in the coming year. Although there’s an expectation among Lowcountry contractors that business activity will remain slow, there’s a significantly more sanguine attitude about the year ahead than in the Upstate.
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