Macroeconomic Study of Construction Firm's Profitability Using Cluster Analysis
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This research aims to identify important factors contributing to a construction firm's profitability and to develop a prediction model which would help in determining the gross margin/profitability of a construction firm as a function of important parameters. All the data used in the research was taken from U.S Census Bureau reports. The novelty of the research lies on its focus at a state level, by dividing states into pertinent clusters and then analyzing the trends in each cluster independently. The research was divided into two phases. Phase 1 of the research focused on identification of the most important factors contributing to gross margin of a construction firm. The variables used were derived from the U.S Census Bureau data. Based on the independent variables and gross margin, all the states were divided into three clusters. Subsequently, a prediction model was developed for each cluster using step-wise backward elimination, thus, eliminating non-significant variables. Results of Model 1 gave impetus to developing Model 2. Model 1 clearly showed that labor productivity was the most important variable in determining gross margin. Model 2 was developed to predict gross margin as a function of single most important factor of labor productivity. Similar to Model 1, states were clustered based on their labor productivity and gross margin values. Prediction model was developed for each cluster. In this study, an excel embedded decision support tool was also developed. This tool would aid the decision-makers to view the state's level of gross margin and labor productivity at a glance. Decision support tool developed was in the form of color-coded maps, each of which was linked to a spreadsheet containing pertinent data. The most important conclusion of the research was that there exists a positive linear relationship between labor productivity and gross margin at a state level in the construction industry. The research also identified and quantified other important factors like percent of rental equipment used, percent of construction work sub-contracted out and percent of cost of materials, components and supplies which affect gross margin.
Arora, Parth (2012). Macroeconomic Study of Construction Firm's Profitability Using Cluster Analysis. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from