2021 Year in Review and Trends Ahead

2021 prompted innovation, flexibility, and resiliency among AHBL’s clients, leaders, and staff. As the firm approaches the end of the year, we reflect on the positives of 2021 and what is to come. A highlight among the year was reopening all four of our office locations to staff and customers following the CDC and the Washington State Department of Health guidelines. After more than a year away, it was exciting to offer employees an opportunity to return to the office.

As a business, AHBL approached 2021 with optimism, but the firm was prepared for a recovering economy. As we near 2022, growth rates are projected to close closer to 4.8%, lagging behind the US Consumer and business confidence levels, following the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some areas, recovery is not going as well as experts predicted at the beginning of 2021.

According to the Business Insider“stock market gains are unlikely to be strong; interest rates will rise and policy pivot will move us from pro-growth to anti-inflation [in 2022].” 

Despite this somewhat somber economic forecast, the outlook for the AEC industry is brighter. According to the AEC Inspire 2021 by Unanet, “Organizations are optimistic about their current and future growth. Many firms (39%) believe they will see 11-30%+ profit rates, and most firms (65%) anticipate year-over-year revenue growth upwards of 30%+ in FY2021.” 

However, there are still pressures facing AEC firms in 2022 including among others: unpredictability in the marketplace and shortage of top talent are the top concerns facing AEC firms according to Hinge Research Institute High Growth Study 2021.

Graphic: Hinge Research Institute

At AHBL, we remain optimistic that the continued recovery from the pandemic will lead to continued growth for our industry across all of our offices. Although 2022 will come with its challenges, there will be opportunities to capture particularly in areas such as affordable housing, healthcare, and senior living. We look forward to staying focused on client satisfaction and the value that we bring as design professionals in communities throughout the Pacific Northwest.



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