A Barometer on Building


Construction firms of all sizes have shown remarkable resilience during the pandemic, and generally appear optimistic about the economy and their prospects for growth — which is good news for not only the community but employers too.

While construction companies continue to face supply chain disruption as a result of COVID-19, these companies are more optimistic (56 percent) than the national average (52 percent), expecting overall economic conditions in the United States will improve, according to a recent study.

The results show that construction firms tend to see improving finances in the year ahead. About 66 percent said they expect revenues to increase, compared with an average of 55 percent for all sectors, and only behind that of retail (67 percent). The construction industry also expects profits to rise, with 52 percent saying so, compared with an average of 45 percent, and trailing only retail (67 percent) and manufacturing (57 percent).

The findings are part of a 2021 Business Barometer report that provides an in-depth study into the mood, mindset and strategic priorities of nearly 1,200 leaders at small and mid-size companies across the United States. The survey breaks down results into seven major industries.

Construction firms also said they will continue to retool their approaches over the next year. Remarkably, 73 percent said they plan to make significant changes to pricing, more than any other sector, with the others trailing behind, such as manufacturing (50 percent), business services (49 percent), and wholesale (48 percent). About 34 percent said they are likely to take on debt to grow in the coming 12 months, versus 29 percent of all those polled. About 31 percent are considering increasing their real estate footprint, similar in inclination to other industries (32 percent).

In this edition of the MBA Business Magazine, we’ll highlight some of the companies — contractors, subcontractors and others — that are essential building blocks when it comes to contributing to our region’s economic growth. This year, for instance, The Wilkins Company in Erie, Pennsylvania, is marking its 40th year as one of the area’s most respected family businesses and as a leading provider of electronic security and fire alarm systems.

We’ll also to talk to Jay Spaeder of Wm. T. Spaeder Co. about the mechanical contracting firm and its part in the growing “construction renaissance” in the region. Plus, don’t miss this month’s Legal Brief as we discuss the importance of staying in the know when it comes to property tax assessments and appeals.

The MBA also offers numerous safety courses to help keep your team members safe! To learn more, visit