Predicting Population Trends
One method of predicting construction demand is to monitor proposed government funding for infrastructure improvements. While a national government’s budget may include items for transportation projects, federal emergency projects, federal government buildings and facilities, power grids and other systems which may impact an entire country, most of the accessible funding is found at the local government level. A major drawback to this approach is the unpredictability of revenues collected and distributed by government bodies. Politics and economic turmoil can change proposed funding for construction in a matter of months, as the all too recent developments in the world wide economic and political landscape has shown.
Census statistics are another way of predicting future construction demand. Presumably, where populations are increasing, stagnant, or decreasing, so goes the demand for infrastructure construction. Using these statistics has little short term value, however, as census data is usually not collected on a yearly basis. They may, however, be utilized at a regional level to broadly guide longer term master planned developments, which can be refined at the local level as the opportunity arises.
Monitoring moving supplies, such as cardboard boxes and truck rentals, driver’s license applications, travel visas, public school enrollments, and other artifacts of the growth, decline, or relocation processes are better short term indicators of changes in population requiring infrastructure consideration. These data sources can indicate trends over a period of months instead of years, which may allow planning for construction project bids to proceed in a more timely manner.