U.S. engineering firm CEOs are feeling pretty good about Q3 2014. According to the latest ACEC Engineering Business Index, which charts the health of the engineering industry, they're reporting strong recovery in employment and positive market trends. As stated in a press release:

EBI is a diffusion index, consolidating hundreds of engineering leader responses nationwide on market and firm performance into a single “confidence” number. Any score over 50 indicates expansion.

The third quarter EBI (Q3), conducted September 17 to October 3 of 275 engineering CEOs, presidents and chairmen, produced a positive composite score of 68.8, virtually unchanged from 68.9 in the second quarter.

Survey respondents reported a strong rebound in hiring: 67.4 percent said employment at their firm was equal to or higher now than pre-recession (2008) levels; 25 percent said employment was “at least 10 percent” higher. Only 32.7 percent said employment was lower.

Engineering leaders remained encouraged by company performance: 65 percent reported higher backlogs compared to this time last year—significantly more than the 51 percent in the second quarter. Almost half of Q3 respondents (49.3 percent) expect backlogs to increase further over the next 12 months.

Respondents also believe most private markets will continue to thrive: 61.7 percent expect improvement over the coming year in Land Development, 56.1 percent in Energy and Power, and 53.1 percent in Buildings and Commercial.

Public market expectations, however, continue to lag: only 43.8 percent of respondents believe the Water and Wastewater segment will improve by next year; only 39.7 said Transportation will improve.

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) is the business association of America’s engineering industry. For the complete Q3 summary of ACEC’s Engineering Business Index go to www.acec.org.