- The number of cranes in North America's major cities increased 4.74% from Q3 2021 to Q1 2022, recovering from the identical decrease from the previous Rider Levett Bucknall crane index report.
- A measure of construction health, RLB's index counted five cities with an increase in the number of cranes, six that held steady and three that saw "significant" decreases — dropping by more than 20%.
- North American cities added 22 cranes in Q1 2022, more than half of which were in the commercial sector.
As with many previous indexes, cranes populate Toronto's skyline more than any other city measured. In fact, tallying the number of cranes for all U.S. cities — 203 — still falls short of the towering 252 in Canada's most populous city.
Other findings from the report include:
- Los Angeles's 51 cranes, unchanged from the last report, account for 10% of the total count.
- Hospitality construction saw a 24% increase in cranes.
- Residential cranes make up 50% of cranes counted, continuing trends from previous reports.
The steady increase is a good sign, but RLB doesn't expect the number to continue trending upward.
"We expect the crane count to remain steady, as many projects are experiencing delays in their schedules due to supply chain issues and construction costs continue to climb up, giving some developers hesitancy to break ground at this time," the index reads.
That sentiment was shared in greater detail by Associated Builders And Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. The prices of commodities may come down before year's end, but supply chain issues will persist for years, and a recession looms in 2023, according to Basu.
In a presentation last week, Basu said the multifamily sector remains a bright spot.
"Apartment permitting is skyrocketing," Basu said. "Some of you are involved in that multifamily market, and so that should be one of the stronger markets for you going forward."
Nevertheless, the high prices of commodities, like the steel these cranes hoist, will remain high for now.
Correction: This story has been updated to show the proper percent change in the number of North American cranes.