The construction backlog indicator increased to nine months in May from 8.8 months in April, according to a member survey conducted May 17 to June 3 by the Associated Builders and Contractors.
The reading is up one month from May 2021, according to ABC, which also analyzes federal data related to construction.
Backlog in the infrastructure segment jumped from 8.7 months in April to 9.3 months in May, while the Northeast and South regions “continue to outperform the Middle States and the West,” ABC said.
Contractors with more than $100 million in annual revenues witnessed the highest backlog, at 13.2 months.
“It is simply remarkable that contractors continue to add to backlog amidst global strife, rising materials prices and ubiquitous labor force challenges,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Backlog is up in every segment over the past year, including in the somewhat shaky commercial category. The largest increase in backlog has been registered in the industrial segment. More American companies are committing to place additional supply chain capacity in the United States, with Intel and Ford representing particularly recent and noteworthy examples.
“For contractors, the challenge will continue to be the cost of delivering construction services. The risk of severe increases in costs and substantial delays in delivery remains elevated given the volatility in input prices, the propensity of the labor force to shift jobs in large numbers and equipment shortages and delays. This ABC survey indicates that the proportion of contractors who expect that profit margins will expand over the next six months is declining, a reflection of lingering, worsening supply chain challenges.”
According to an ABC analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index, construction prices also rose 2.3% in May compared to the previous month.