The NRCI index score of 58.1 for the first quarter of 2013 matches the first quarter of 2012, and it is only a few points better than 2011. Nevertheless, even though the scores look the same, there are a number of underlying differences. Depending on where you look or what markets you are looking in, there are fundamental bright spots in the economy.
“Optimistic but not bullish” is the way one panelist described his outlook on hiring for his company in 2013. NRCI panelists are reporting an improving outlook for employment for 2013. Only 9% report that they expect to decrease the number of full-time direct employees, while 45% expect to increase full-time direct employees by 0% to 5%. Most note that they are primarily hiring when current staff begin to be consistently over full work capacity. NRCI panelists’ expectations for growth in nonresidential construction are slightly more optimistic than last year at this time, nearly 50% of panelists expect modest growth for 2013 ranging from 0.5% to 2.5%, and 18.4% expect 2.6% to 5% growth. Backlogs for NRCI panelists haven’t changed for the last three quarters, holding steady at a median of 9 months.