A construction confidence index compiled by the Washington-based Associated Builders and Contractors is showing an uptick in both construction sales and staffing levels indicating “expectations of growth over the next six months.”
The sales confidence index response, according to the ABC survey, is now at 58.4, up from a December response of 56.6.
The index for staffing levels now stands at 48.6; compared with 42.4 two months ago.
Forecasting contractors’ likely profit margins for the next half year, the index also shows a smaller 31.0 result, but even that is up from where it was in late December when the index recorded a 29.8 response.
Although all of the index results are substantially lower from where they were in the pre-pandemic month of January 2020, the numbers still show an increasing early 2021 optimism.
“The anticipation is that the second half of the year will be spectacular from a growth perspective, which will help lift industry fortunes as 2022 approaches,” said Anirban Basu, ABC chief economist, in a statement.
Basu added that although contractors have been plagued with public health and supply chain challenges in the last year, a wider use of vaccinations will allow those same contractors to benefit from “fewer interruptions going forward and the restart of postponed projects.”
The ABC survey also indicates that the backlog for commercial and heavy industrial projects has increased by a combined average of just over 7 months.
At the same time, the backlog for infrastructure projects has decreased from nearly 9 months to 7 months.
The survey additionally shows that the backlog timeframe is currently the longest for construction companies with annual revenues in excess of $100 million at more than 12 months, while the time frame is the shortest, at 6.6 months, for companies with revenues at or below the $30 million level.
By Garry Boulard
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