Posted January 20, 2022

Wells Fargo Survey: Construction Industry Expects Strong Profitability in 2022, Despite Supply Chain & Labor Challenges

Optimism reaches highest level since 2019, 44% increase from 2021.

Wells Fargo has released its 2022 Construction Industry Forecast, showing renewed optimism among nonresidential contractors and distributors for increasing profits and new equipment sales in the year ahead. The benchmark U.S. National Optimism Quotient (OQ) registered 112, a 44% increase from its mark of 78 a year earlier, showing leaders ended 2021 feeling cautiously optimistic.

“Finding skilled workers and supply chain disruptions are executives’ two biggest concerns,” said James Heron, national sales manager for the Wells Fargo Equipment Finance Construction Group, which has sponsored the report for its 46th year, cementing it as the primary benchmark for the U.S. nonresidential construction industry. “However, in this rapidly changing environment, they also believe that the passing of the new Infrastructure Bill and historically low interest rates will create new opportunities in the future.”

Wells Fargo queried hundreds of industry executives nationwide in September 2021 to determine this year’s National Optimism Quotient, an outlook measure for nonresidential construction business for the year ahead. The survey posed questions about equipment sales, purchase expectations, and rental market trends, while also exploring major cost and risk concerns that industry executives were considering as they geared up for the new year.

At 112, the 2022 score represents a significant increase compared to the 2021 OQ of 78, and exceeds the 2020 OQ of 99. An OQ score of 100 or more represents strong optimism for increased local construction activity relative to the perceived level of activity for the prior calendar year. Any score between 75 and 99 is considered more cautious or measured optimism. A score below 75 signals that most responding executives believe local construction activity will decrease — a more pessimistic point of view.

Key findings in the 2022 Construction Industry Forecast include:

Industry optimism

  • Optimism rebounded from 78 up to 112
  • Contractors and distributors alike are optimistic in their outlook for local, nonresidential construction; roughly half expect it to increase compared to 2021.

Top risks, financial concerns and opportunities

  • Executives state that the greatest risks to the construction industry are the availability of skilled workers and supply chain disruptions, followed by rising material costs and inflation.
  • Key opportunities, noted by executives, lie in an improved overall economy, improved qualified labor availability, the recent Congressional passage of the Infrastructure Bill, and low interest rates.

Equipment acquisition

  • Distributors are largely optimistic about sales of new equipment with 61% stating they expect an increase in sales; contractors have mixed expectations: 43% feel it will remain the same, 38% feel it will increase, 14% feel it will decrease.

More about the Construction Industry Forecast

The 2022 Construction Industry Forecast results represent the 46th year that Wells Fargo Equipment Finance has surveyed construction industry executives to gather insight into current business conditions and trends and to measure sentiment. Responses came from hundreds of industry executives in 46 U.S. states. Nearly all of the respondents report that they have been in the industry five years or more. To learn more, download the complete Construction Forecast Survey.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is the leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management.

Wells Fargo ranked No. 37 on Fortune’s 2021 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy. News, insights, and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

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