The Associated Builders and Contractors Construction Backlog Indicator dropped to 7.6 in September, the group said, based on a member survey that shows a decline of 0.1 month from August’s backlog figure, but an equivalent gain compared to September 2020.
“A growing number of contractors are indicating shortages of materials such as copper and PVC pipe,” Anirban Basu, said ABC chief economist. “Rising shipping and trucking costs are further exacerbating the situation by placing additional upward pressure on input prices.”
The survey, conducted from Sept. 20 through Oct. 4, further showed that infrastructure sector backlog dropped by 0.3 months, with the measure for commercial and institutional work staying flat. The backlog indicator for heavy industrial construction increased 2.1 months since August.
Regionally, the west experienced the largest drop in backlog at 1.1 months, while it increased in the south by 1.4 months.
“The good news is that demand for construction services remains elevated,” said Basu. “Despite all the challenges facing the nonresidential construction industry, contractors collectively expect sales, staffing and profit margins to expand over the next six months, although the level of confidence has been diminished in recent months.”