FMI: Nonresidential Construction Sentiment Up in Q1, Labor Shortage Still Being Felt

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The Nonresidential Construction Index (NRCI) from FMI Management Consulting climbed two points in Q1 and matched the same period last year.


Nonresidential construction sentiment since 2010. Source: FMI.

This normally is good economic news for US construction, however, construction companies are facing the challenge of not having enough people to keep up with increasing backlogs, warns Phil Warner, head researcher for FMI. A downloadable version of the report is available from FMI.

Free Download: Cost Certainty for Construction Materials Orders

The report comprises owners’ views and expectations for 2015 construction put in place, top business challenges for 2015, and employment trends. The lack of skilled labor in the US workforce was, once again, among the owner and construction executive panelists top concerns. The responses in the survey are based on the construction industry executive panelists experiences and opinions, and the analysis is based on FMI’s interpretation of the aggregate results.

Key Takeaways:

  • Panelists’ view of the overall economy moved up a solid 6.7 points this quarter to 78.8.
  • Greater opportunities and more work also lead to the need for more good people and increased materials. That is the scenario for increasing costs for labor and materials, and, even though metal prices are down, costs are rising for these components.The result is that higher costs hold down growth in the NRCI.
  • For 2014, panelists’ expectations of growth in construction put in place were upwards of 5%. FMI’s latest readings for 2014 show growth of 6% for CPIP. For 2015, only 16% of panelists expect little or no growth in construction put in place, with 79% expecting up to 5% and more.

 Read the full report to get a better idea of where US construction executives see the industry going this year.

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