Commercial construction contractors across the U.S. are confident in the trajectory of the industry, according to the new USG + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index.

Nearly all contractors surveyed—96 percent—for the quarterly report expect revenues to grow or remain stable this year compared to 2016, with 40 percent expecting an increase and only 3 percent expecting a decrease in revenue.

The index is a new economic indicator designed to gauge what drives the commercial construction industry and its leaders, including specific issues like backlog of work, new business pipeline, revenue projections, workforce issues, and access to financing. The research was developed with Dodge Data & Analytics.

“This first-of-its-kind index was born out of a need to understand the issues that affect commercial construction. The index will deliver critical insights into the future health of the industry,” says Jennifer Scanlon, president and chief executive officer of USG Corp.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of contractors said they expect to employ more workers in the next six months, indicating growth in a sector that employs approximately 3 million Americans. But 61 percent of respondents reported difficultly finding skilled workers.

“The commercial construction industry is a vital engine for the American economy,” says Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. “The projected growth uncovered in this research is good news for employers and workers, but there is reason for concern in the lack of qualified talent available in vital specialties. To get our economy growing to its full potential, we must ensure that we have a workforce that is ready to fill the available jobs.”