Confidence remains high in contractor community

After hitting its highest point last quarter, the Washington Technology Contractor Confidence Index has continued to maintain a sky-high level.

The index stands at 112.9, down just slightly from the previous quarter's reading of 113.3. Both surveys were the first conducted during the Trump administration.

These high index numbers stand in sharp contrast to the results our surveys gathered during the Obama administration when the index mostly stayed in the high 90s.

Our quarterly Contractor Confidence Index is based on a survey measuring the sentiment of the market. Each quarter we ask the same set of questions around expectations such as hiring, growth, and job satisfaction. The results are used to create an index number that lets us track the ups and downs in the market.

As you'll see in the charts below, the contracting community sees a strong market ahead with 56.3 percent expecting growth, compared to just 10.1 percent who think the market will shrink. Last quarter, 58.1 percent expected growth. That is down slightly but still well above 51.8 percent that expected growth when we asked that question in August, before the election.

Another key question we track is hiring where 44.5 percent said they expected hiring to increase at their company. A decrease is expected by 13.5 percent. In the last quarter, hiring expectations were much higher at 58.1 percent.

So that is one dark spot in the new index but it wasn't enough to drag down the overall Confidence Index.

The overall market direction was a high point with 46.6 percent saying it is headed in a positive direction. Last quarter, it was 41.8 percent.

Job satisfaction also remains high at 67.2 percent, not much below last quarter's 69.4 percent.

We also included a Trump administration question about whether the president and the new administration is living up to expectations. More than half said the administration was either exceeding expectations (21.4 percent) or meeting expectations (35 percent).

But there is still a significant amount of dissatisfaction with the administration as 43.6 percent say Trump had failed to meet expectations.

Some of the written comments included with that response also indicate concerns about the Trump administration, though several praised his pro-business positions in their comments. Others meanwhile complained about dysfunction and a lack of leadership.

The positive numbers in the survey may have less to do with the Trump administration and more to do with the cyclical nature of the contracting. After several years of contraction, the market is now starting to move in a positive direction, regardless of party or White House occupant.

Do you feel the market is headed in a positive or negative direction?

Do you expect your company's revenue to grow, shrink or stay the same over the next six months?

Do you expect your company's infrastructure investments to increase, decrease or stay the same?

Do you expect your company's hiring to increase or decrease in the next six months?

Do you expect your company to announce layoffs or other cost-cutting strategies in the next six months?

Are you happy/satisfied with your job?

Are you currently looking for a job?

How will the new Trump administration impact the government contracting market?

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