Coronavirus Surveys

During the current coronavirus threat, information is difficult to get. And since the situation is changing so quickly, what we do get is often out of date.

Contractors, engineers, architects and manufacturers weigh in our how their businesses are doing during the coronavirus threat

By Paul Deffenbaugh

Cv Survey Main Image

Metal Construction News has conducted regular surveys of the metal construction industry. We’ve done three surveys: one from March 30 through April 2, a second from April 13 through April 16, and the final from May 11 through May 14. We’ve tracked changing attitudes and industry conditions throughout these trying times.

May 11 Survey Highlights

The coronavirus shutdown has been going since the middle of March with states ordering shelter-in-place restrictions at varying times. Now, nearly two months later, the country is trying to open back up for business. Our third survey in the last month delves into attitudes within the metal construction industry about the threat and how it has affected businesses.

In the third survey, we discovered:

  • Fatigue is creeping into attitudes.
  • The demographics of the respondents remained consistent across all three surveys with the exception of geographic distribution.
  • Respondents are much less concerned about the impact of the coronavirus itself one and a half months after the first survey.
  • In terms of the business impact, though, concern hasn’t changed at all. More than 90% of all respondents across all three surveys say they are very worried or somewhat worried about the business impact.
  • Contractors are slightly more optimistic about the business environment in the third survey than in the second, and it is nearly identical to their attitudes in the first survey.
  • While contractors were slightly less inclined to postpone jobs, they were more inclined to cancel them.
  • The layoffs of field employees remains about the same, but layoffs of office staff have picked up steam.

April 13 Survey Highlights

Over the course of two surveys two weeks apart, a few issues are becoming clearer in spite of continued concern about both the coronavirus and the affect it is having on the economy.

  • Survey respondents are more optimistic two weeks later than they were at the beginning of April.
  • Contractor revenue projections have not changed substantially.
  • While contractors who say that laying off field and office staff has increased only slightly nationally, it has jumped dramatically in the South.
  • Nearly all respondents have postponed jobs, but in the West they were far less likely to postpone.
  • There has been little change in attitudes about revenue projections as well as comparing first quarter results to second quarter results.

March 30 Survey Highlights

  • Field workers are more likely to be laid off than office workers.
  • Attitudes are changing fast. Even within the four days of the survey, respondents significantly altered their responses.
  • Contractors are closing down jobs and laying off field people but maybe not at as high a rate as supposed.
  • Respondents in the East region are far more pessimistic and hit far harder than other regions.
  • Uncertainty rules the industry, and it shows in changing revenue projects and the confidence respondents have in them.
  • There is still resilience. 93% of respondents believe layoffs they have made will not be permanent.