2017: What We Thought Would Happen and What Did (or Didn’t)

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2017: What We Thought Would Happen and What Did (or Didn’t)

This time each year, at Goliath, we take an assessment of where the construction industry is versus where we’d thought it might be last January.

Watching for trends in the industry helps us better key in on the needs of our customers – job hunters and hiring companies.

Sometime we’re right and, other times, we’re wrong – either way, we are informed!

When we start to look at 2017 in the rearview, we aren’t keeping score – tallying the times Goliath guessed correctly for bragging rights with our buddies over our next cold one.

No.  In fact, reviewing our expectations for the year against our experiences is a great way to get better, to stay on the forefront of emerging construction trends and to always deliver real-time and relevant expertise to job seekers and companies looking to hire.

In January 2017, we thought:

How accurate was our prediction?

With a historically low overall, nationwide unemployment rate around 4%, predicting a tight hiring market was not news worthy – it seemed inevitable.  And, true to form, the market has been, and continues to be, short of qualified candidates for plentiful job postings.

What the labor market shortage means to you.

More important than being right is being educated – understanding how the tight labor market applies to job seekers and hiring companies we serve.

First, qualified candidates are able to syphon through several opportunities, make counter-offers and hold out for the job that checks all of their “must-have” requirements.  Today job seekers have the upper-hand.

For companies looking to hire, successfully filling job postings requires out-working the competition – standing out in the eyes of the targeted candidate.

Hiring departments should plan to out-shine the competition through more than pay and benefits – by staying in constant communication and addressing the candidate’s concerns as they come up, right away.


How accurate was our prediction?

U.S. Consensus data through October (their last release) shows construction spending up 4.1% from the same point in 2016.

Private sector construction spending quadrupled the amount of private spending, but grew at a lower (1%) clip.  Public sector spending, albeit at lower total dollars, grew at 4%.

The data tells us that, as we expected, investment in construction continues to grow.

 What increased construction spending means to you.

An expanding construction market means that skilled labor opportunities are plentiful.

The data also should help in looking at the markets that will require more help than others.  Markets like multi-family development are trending downward while public and educational infrastructure projects are up.

It may be time to make sure the skills you have (or are looking to hire) are aligned to the right pockets of today’s construction expansion.


How accurate was our prediction?

Multi-family statistics for 2017 have, indeed, been a mixed bag according to Freddie Mac.

In July, on their mid-year update, there were a few very interesting statistics of note:

Multi-family starts were down 10%, but project completions were up

Vacancy rates were rising – and more pronounced in major metropolitan areas

Property price and rent levels moderated in 2017

Industry outlooks expect multi-family construction to remain at high levels through at least 2020.

The data tells us that new multi-family development opportunities have moderated to historical levels – which are still very bullish.

What the multi-family moderation means to you.

The return of multi-family construction to average levels could mean some risks and opportunities for hiring companies and workers in the industry.

Companies looking to hire workers for major apartment or condo developments will be relative less active in than others.  Workers specializing in multi-family builds could face a longer placement time and fewer readily available opportunities.

There may be, though, opportunities for construction companies to tie their multi-family experience into major renovation projects connected to previously completed projects.  This work will help soften the fall in demand for new buildings until rental supply and demand re-balance.


There is no doubt that 2017 was a year of expansion for the construction industry – something that everyone putting in the hard work to contribute each day should be very proud of.

Will 2018 be similar?  We’ll tell you what we think is on the horizon on our next blog.

In the meantime, let us know about your 2017 and how we can help make your 2018 even better.

By | 2018-06-14T18:05:25+00:00 December 7th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments