CCI: Contractor Confidence Steady, But Far Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

Contractor confidence has remained steady in the third quarter of 2020 but the score is still significantly below pre-pandemic levels. The Commercial Construction Index (CCI), released quarterly by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Dodge Data & Analytics, rose one point from the Q2 CCI to 57. The Q1 CCI was 74, which at the time was in the midrange of scores over the last three years.

New Business

Contractors’ confidence in the ability of the market to provide new business in the next year rebounded slightly, increasing six points to 56. This score was 76 in Q1, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Revenue

Revenue expectations for the next 12 months rose four points to 48 as many contractors saw projects ramp back up following the initial shutdowns. This score was 70 in Q1.

Backlog and Methodology

Backlog fell from 73 in the second quarter to 68 in the third quarter. This score was 76 in the first quarter.

The data in the report is from a Q3 2020 survey conducted online from July 13- 20, 2020. Half of respondents are prime contractors and half are specialty trade contractors.

COVID-19 Impacts Contractor Headcounts

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted contractors’ projects and the way they conduct business, so it’s no surprise that the crisis has also affected company headcounts. According to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and Autodesk’s 2020 Workforce Survey, the headcounts of 50% of contractors that responded have been impacted.

The survey was conducted between August 4 and 26, 2020, and was completed by more than 2,000 firms from a broad cross-section of the construction industry, including union and open shop firms of all sizes.

While half of firms reported no change in headcount, 29% have furloughed or terminated employees due to the pandemic and 31% have recalled or added employees. If looking at the past 12 months, 41% of firms have reduced headcount while 27% have increased headcount and 32% have experienced no change.

COVID-19 Impacts

Many contractors faced uncertainties during the beginning of the pandemic as jobsites navigated changing state mandates and new safety procedures. While much of that uncertainty has stabilized, several projects have been impacted.

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