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Construction backlog indicator inches lower

Associated Builders and Contractors reported that its Construction Backlog Indicator fell to 8.3 months in May, according to an ABC member survey conducted May 20 to June 4. The reading is down 0.6 months from May 2023.

View the full Construction Backlog Indicator and Construction Confidence Index data series.

Backlog declined on a monthly basis for every company size except those contractors with greater than $100 million in annual revenues. On an annual basis, backlog is down for contractors of all sizes.

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ABC’s Construction Confidence Index readings for profit margins and staffing levels fell slightly in May, while the reading for sales improved. All three readings remain above the threshold of 50, indicating expectations for growth over the next six months.

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“Over a year has passed since the Federal Reserve raised the target range of the federal funds rate above 5%,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Despite widespread expectations that rates will remain elevated through at least the end of the year, contractors remain confident about the future, with a majority of contractors expecting their sales and staffing levels to expand over the next six months.

“Although backlog has been lower in 2024 than it was during 2023, it has also been stable,” said Basu. “While significant spending activity in manufacturing and infrastructure-related segments has kept contractors busy, input cost escalation has reemerged in recent months. As a result, contractor confidence regarding profit margins has fallen to the lowest level since November 2023.”

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