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Continued Growth Predicted in FMI's Construction Overview

FMI Corp., Raleigh, N.C., released its 2007 U.S. Markets Construction Overview, predicting continued growth for the industry with an optimistic forecast of 2.2 percent increase for total construction in 2007. FMI estimates that growth for non-residential construction markets may reach as high as 9% overall and that almost all sectors, with the exception of religious buildings, would be well ahead of the growth rate for the U.S. GDP in 2007.

The 98-page report provides a look at the economic health of the U.S. construction industry as well as forecasts for each market sector and geographic region for the coming year. The annual review includes an inspection of industry trends and emerging issues to help industry participants prepare for future challenges.

According to the report, continued growth will present two ongoing challenges: rising materials costs and the need to find skilled workers. Driven by demographic and social changes, FMI notes that the talent shortage is not likely to go away in the near future for the engineering and construction industries. According to FMI, organizations that focus on retention, recruitment and training efforts will likely possess a competitive advantage in the ongoing talent battle.

Overall, FMI notes that price increases for construction products and materials have slowed. Future increases are expected to moderate and settle at a new level, although there will be continued market shortages of selected materials, such as cement, steel, copper and diesel fuel • causing project delays and cost escalation. Preferred customer supply agreements, time limits on quotes, fuel surcharges and other restrictions have become part of the equation for stakeholders forced to deal with these challenges.

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