- The Associated Builders and Contractors reported that the Construction Confidence Index (CCI) fell somewhat in the second half of 2015 but still saw indications of growth.
- Sales expectations fell from 69.4 to 67.0 on the CCI, while profit margin predictions inched down from 62.9 to 62.8, and the reading for intended staffing levels decreased from 66.2 to 63.9.
- Although the three indicators for the CCI are lower than the previous Index report, the CCI measures future construction industry expectations, and readings above 50 indicate predictions of growth.
ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said that a variety of factors have forced the CCI slightly lower, and he said its readings are reflective of how the nonresidential construction industry views short-term possibilities. Major industry concerns include struggling financial markets, still depressed commodity prices, uncertain Fed policy and increasingly late consumer debt payments and business defaults. Basu said the construction industry is also still concerned about labor shortages, the ramifications of the U.S. presidential election and risks abroad, according to Basu.
However, hotel, data center, outpatient center, industrial facility, utility and education construction has remained consistently strong, much of which is echoed in the most recent CMD nonresidential starts report.
In March, the ABC reported that the fourth quarter of 2015 saw a 2.7% increase in nonresidential project backlog to 8.7 months, with the southern U.S. leading the way with a 11.19-month backlog, an 8.7% increase from the third quarter. Another strong performer, the ABC reported, was the infrastructure sector, reaching a record backlog of 12.2 months, primarily due to the passage of the highway bill.