According to an industry-wide survey by the Associated General Contractors of America and Navigant, more construction firms will be hiring workers in 2011 than laying them off. The survey, conducted as part of the Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook, shows the industry may finally be emerging from a severe downturn that has left millions of skilled workers unemployed.
The survey reports that 27 percent of construction firms say that they plan to add staff in 2011, while only 20 percent plan layoffs. In 2010, 55% of construction firms laid off employees, while only 20% added them. Expanding firms plan to hire an average of 23 employees, while contracting firms plan to lay off an average of only 16 employees. Firms in Iowa are the most optimistic, with 45% planning to hire, while Idaho is the most pessimistic. There, 48% of the firms are planning cutbacks.
Among the 26 states with large enough survey sample sizes, 45 percent of firms in Iowa plan to hire, more than in any other state. Those firms plan to hire an average of 5 employees each, 21 percent of their workforce. Only five percent of Iowa firms plan layoffs. Meanwhile, 48 percent of firms in Idaho plan layoffs for this year, the highest percentage of any state. Those firms plan to lay off an average of 12 employees each, 11 percent of their workforce. Only 14 percent of Idaho firms plan to hire.