Call it construction's version of a crystal ball.
Backlog, or the projects that construction companies have won but haven't started working on, provides a rare glimpse of what lies ahead in an industry that typically measures itself on the solid foundations of what has already been built, and the real, measurable dollars that have already poured into its coffers.
During the pandemic, the industry's collective backlog numbers charted a line as jagged as the impacts of the crisis itself. But it was in those peaks and valleys that the true value of measuring the industry by what it hadn't built yet became apparent.
Here, we look at the changes in backlog across the construction spectrum, from a wide array of smaller, private firms to a selection of multi-billion dollar, publicly traded contractors who took varying steps to counteract the crisis, and keep their pipelines full.