Federal contractors confident after post-election uncertainty, says survey
By Tony Ware
Government contractors overall, but especially those in the federal tech sector, have increased confidence in 2017-2018 sales growth, according to a survey of 424 companies selling to federal, state, local and educational agencies.
Posing questions about growth and agency budgets to wide-ranging firms in the infrastructure, technology and other/services sectors, government business intelligence company Onvia constructed the government contractor confidence index presented in its third annual report.
Monitoring the composite results following the dips of 2016’s election year uncertainty, Onvia found an increase in overall confidence of 5 percent over last year’s survey, placing the current level (135.8) at its highest since 2015 (135.1).
Based on respondents’ more positive outlooks on recent and future growth or stability in sales, the allocation of funding by agencies and the overall economy, Onvia concluded that there is an estimated average realistic growth rate for contractors of 4.9 percent in government sales, up from 3.5 percent in 2016.
The perception of economic health is up substantially, rising to 60 percent from 33 percent in 2016. There is an increasing belief that the Trump administration is approaching regulations with a "pro-business" mindset (particularly in its proposed infrastructure stimulus and corporate tax reform policy changes). Those in the tech sector are expecting a particularly optimistic growth rate (eight percent versus five percent for other industries).
While there are always fears of a decrease in federal funding and/or an economic slowdown, company comments accompanying the survey indicated an increase in outreach and sales/marketing staff among many contractors to reinforce and expand territory in what is seen as a growing market with increasing competition.