Engineering and design services revenue fell an estimated 7% in 2020, significantly underperforming overall construction activity over the period. The slowdown in A/E is the result of an anticipated decline in construction activity in 2021. Typically, engineering and design services leads construction activity by two to three quarters, and the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Research Institute expects the downturn in A/E activity in 2020 to serve as a harbinger for construction activity in 2021 and 2022.
ACEC Research Institute expects total engineering and design services revenue will again witness declines in 2021, falling 4% from 2020 levels. Recovery should begin during the back-half of the year. Annual growth in engineering and design services is expected to remain in the 3% range from 2022-2024, before tailing off slightly in 2025 as the hangover from post-pandemic economic stimulus is likely to curtail economic growth.