Overall proposal activity growth remained essentially flat in the month of August, indicating the architecture, engineering and construction industry has moved beyond the record-setting lows seen in the 2nd quarter. After plummeting to a worst-ever -41% in April and -22% for the full 2nd quarter, the overall net plus/minus index in PSMJ Resources’ Quarterly Market Forecast survey rebounded to +2% in July and stayed relatively flat at +1% in August.
The NPMI represents the difference between the percentage of firms in the survey period that saw growth in overall proposal activity and those that saw a decrease. PSMJ has been conducting the QMF survey every three months since 2003. When the COVID-19 crisis hit, the firm began performing a monthly supplemental survey to track the pandemic’s effect on the industry on a timelier basis.
While the healthcare market recovered enough to regain the top spot among the 12 major markets surveyed with an NPMI of 31%, and the energy/utilities sector grabbed second (29%), it was the housing market’s performance that turned heads. After dropping to -19% in the 1st quarter and -27% in the April supplemental survey, housing’s NPMI has climbed steadily, reaching 27% in August (up from 15% in July and 2% in the full 2nd quarter). Nearly half (45.8%) of respondents said that housing proposals grew from July to August, while only 19.3% reported a decrease.
Healthcare, which was a top performer for the past several years, dropped into negative territory in April for the first time in the survey’s 17-year history when it fell to -8%. The dip was likely caused by the diversion of most healthcare-related resources to combatting or preparing to confront the COVID surge. With the situation under somewhat better control, and the enemy much more understood, normalcy seems to be largely returning to the healthcare sector.
The August supplemental survey did not include questions about the 58 submarkets measured in quarterly surveys. For more information, contact Jerry Guerra at 781-718-2403 or at email@example.com.