First, the good news: Energy prices are down and so is the cost of construction materials. In fact, Reed Construction Data reported in March that the drop in materials costs in 2009 has erased the cost increases of 2008.
But, the bad news is of greater concern: Construction activity is down for the first time since 2003 marked the turning point of recovering from 9/11. A freeze in financing has caused the delay of planned projects, and halted construction on some projects that had already begun. From municipal bonds to capital loans, it's difficult for companies to get the short-term and long-term financing they need to fund construction and renovation projects.
But perhaps the bad news won't turn out so bad after all. The momentum for energy efficiency and green construction is still strong. As the stimulus bill directly and indirectly funnels billions into construction projects, commercial and industrial markets might experience some bounce back.
Also, with the bailout bill passed last October, tax credits for energy-efficiency projects were extended not for one year, but for a confidence-building five years. Also (finally) bank reform is of the highest priority of the Obama Administration; they seem to be gradually working toward a solution that Wall Street and Main Street will embrace. (We can only hope.)
Internationally, countries are working hard to right their economies and get things back on track. The economy truly is global, so we're all in this together.
As the year unfolds, you can count on AMCA International to monitor economic news and events and report to its members and the construction community.
Meanwhile, we invite first-time readers of AMCA inmotion and those who may not be familiar with AMCA International to visit amca.org to learn about our Certified Ratings Program, peruse our database of member companies with certified products, and add AMCA International manuals and testing standards to your company's engineering libraries.
2008-2009 President, AMCA International Executive Vice President, T.A. Morrison & Co. Inc.
AMCA International, Inc. is a not-for-profit association of the world's manufacturers of related air system equipment. For over 80 years, it has led the way in standards development and application research.
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey