Oklahoma Builders Bullish on 2018

Jan 3, 2018

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Builders in Oklahoma expect steady or increased business in most project types this year.

In a survey, 56 percent of Oklahoma builders said they anticipate more business this year than last year while none anticipate less. For the entire U.S., 53 percent of builders expect more business, and 9 percent expect less.

Associated General Contractors of America CEO Stephen Sandherr said there are two main reasons for their optimism.

"One, that tax cuts will lead to stronger demand, and two, that the Trump administration will deliver on its promise to boost investments in infrastructure," Sandherr said.

Oklahoma builders are most optimistic about highway projects, with 94 percent expecting the same amount or more work on those in 2018 as last year.

They may, however, be disappointed in some areas.

"I think we're going to see a slowdown in office. Lodging has been a very strong market that may turn negative this year. Multifamily [housing] has slowed down over the course of the year, and it's likely to be flat or, perhaps, down a little bit in 2018," said AGC economist Ken Simonson.

And 75 percent of Oklahoma firms are having a hard time filling positions, with 56 percent saying a worker shortage is their biggest concern. That’s on par with the rest of the U.S.

"As a result, many firms are opting to recruit workers with less experience and skills than they would prefer," Sandherr said.

In 2017, most Oklahoma companies said increased competition was their biggest concern.