The Q4 2021 Commercial Construction Index (CCI) fell to 65, down one point from the 2021 Q3 report. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Dodge Data & Analytics release the data quarterly. Two of the three key drivers of the Index—revenue and new business confidence—also fell. One key driver, backlog, slightly improved. The data from the report was collected from the Q4 2021 survey conducted online from October 12 to October 14, 2021.
The most notable development in the current quarter, according to the data, is a reduction in revenue expectations, which slipped downward from Q3 for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Contractors also report continuing concerns about inflation: the cost of skilled labor and the fluctuating costs of materials this quarter remained very high.
Contractors’ confidence in the market’s ability to provide sufficient new business in the next 12 months dropped one point to 63 this quarter. However, this is up from 2020 Q2 (after COVID-19 shutdowns), but is still below its score of 76 in pre-pandemic 2020 Q1. According to the report, “88% of contractors report a moderate to high level of confidence that the U.S. market will provide sufficient new business opportunities in the next 12 months (down two points from Q3). About one-third (31%) of contractors reported a high level of confidence. This score shows no significant change from Q2 or Q3.”
For the next 12 months, revenue expectations fell three points to 58 as many contractors saw projects ramp back up following the initial shutdowns. This score was below the pre-pandemic level in Q1 2020, which was 70.
The majority of contractors, 58%, report an expectation for revenues to remain about the same in the next 12 months. Additionally, 35% of contractors expect their revenue to increase in the next year, which is down two percentage points from last quarter.
Only 7% of contractors expect a decrease in revenue over the next year—this is down three points from last quarter.
The ratio of average current and ideal backlogs rose to 75 this quarter. According to the CCI, this key driver is the closest of the three to its pre-pandemic level, which was 76 in 2020 Q1. The average months of backlog decreased to 8.4 months this quarter compared to 9.4 months in 2021 Q3. Additionally, the optimal backlog level on average decreased from 12.7 months to 11.2 months.
According to the report, “40% of contractors reported 6-12 months of backlog (statistically unchanged from Q3), while another 40% reported less than six months of backlog (up four points from last quarter).”