First Quarter CBI Declines 1.1 Percent; Non-Res Activity Remains Sporadic

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) reported its Construction Backlog Indicator (CBI) remained unchanged at eight months from the third quarter through the fourth quarter of 2012. However, it is up 2.4 percent compared to a year ago. CBI is measured in months and reflects the amount of construction work under contract, but not yet completed by nonresidential contractors.

“As with the broader economic recovery, the rebound of the nation’s nonresidential construction industry remains sporadic and stymied by a myriad of factors, including tight credit, heightened caution among private developers and public policymakers, and a still struggling global economy,” says ABC chief economist Anirban Basu.

“Because a growing number of projects are now in various stages of planning, the expectation is that backlog will expand moderately later in 2013, but construction volumes will be roughly flat for the balance of the year,” Basu says.

He adds, “Certain nonresidential construction segments, such as energy generation, infrastructure, retail and lodging, appear to be doing well. But, this activity alone is not enough to counter the poor performance of other construction sectors, and is unable to expand rapidly in the absence of a dynamic economic recovery.”

 

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