Every year, Wells Fargo Equipment Finance surveys construction executives about the state of the industry and potential trends for the coming year. The results of the 38th annual survey are in, and the 2014 Construction Industry Forecast (PDF*) is now available.
Forecast highlights include:
  • Strong optimism that construction activity will increase compared to 2013. This survey's primary indicator of executive sentiment about construction activity – the Optimism Quotient – reached an all-time high of 124.
  • Equipment rental will remain strong. Nearly 80% of surveyed contractors said they rented equipment in 2013, and 91.2% said they intend to rent in 2014. Distributors and equipment rental companies almost universally said they will maintain or grow their rental fleets.
  • Equipment acquisition is on the rise. One in ten contractors surveyed (11.9%) said they would not acquire new construction equipment in 2014, an improvement from 19.1% in 2013. A quarter (26.1%) said they would increase their new equipment purchases this year, a 5.3 percentage point increase from a year ago.
  • Risks, opportunities, and regulations impacting business. The survey asked executives to identify risks, opportunities, and regulatory issues they considered most pressing. More than 80% of executives cited "economic uncertainty" as the greatest risk to the U.S. construction industry in 2014. The regulatory issue of greatest interest for the year was related to tax incentives such as Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 deductions (69.2%), followed by the Highway Funding Bill (60.2%) and the Affordable Care Act (46.6%).
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