June 14, 2024

Building Boom

Building Boom

Marcum’s Commercial Construction Index for the first quarter of 2024 is out, and the big news—which will come as no surprise to those of you trying to navigate the roads of many major cities—is that construction is booming. That’s despite rising costs and interest rates. And that trajectory is likely to continue, given this week’s news that the Fed might cut interest rates at least once this year.

The trend in construction is an example of how, when there is a need in the marketplace, opportunity is always percolating, even when there are significant obstacles. As our report points out, the demand for manufacturing facilities in the semi-conductor, clean energy, and electric vehicle sectors is trumping rising prices for raw materials and resources, the high cost of financing, ongoing labor shortages, and wage increases.

The growth in both construction and manufacturing is no doubt contributing to another positive trend: a 16% increase in enrollment in vocational-focused community colleges. There was a 23% increase in students studying construction trades alone and a 7% increase in HVAC and vehicle and maintenance repair programs. Has anyone recently tried hiring a master tech at an auto dealership lately? Young people are falling back in love with the idea that it’s possible to build a great career in the skilled trades at a time when rising college tuition has some students asking whether getting a degree is the right path for them, and shows like Blue Collar Millionaires are highlighting opportunities parents once discouraged their children from pursuing.

As many of us enjoy graduation season, it’s good to see that more students are recognizing there are many paths to success, and the only right one is the one where someone reaches their highest potential. Just like the economy, career trends go in cycles, and I can understand why, in an age of technology and AI, making tangible things has a lot of appeal. It seems to hearken back to a simpler time, though, of course, that’s just an illusion. Fields like construction and manufacturing have become just as tech-driven as accounting.

This Sunday will be Father’s Day, one of my favorite days of the year, being the father of 5. As has become a Weiner family tradition, we will all be traveling together over the Father’s Day weekend. Many of the dads on our team at Marcum and among our client base do a lot of juggling between work, family, and community—pursuits that take tremendous commitment, energy, and passion. To all of you fathers out there, thanks for all you do. Happy Father’s Day, everyone!