Trends and Hot Topics

Chamber of Commerce Releases Construction Report

Washington – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently released its third quarter data highlighting the worker shortages, material shortages, rising costs, and commercial contractions seeing slowdown in the pace of recovery.

Almost all, 92%, contractors report some level of difficulty finding skilled workers, but this quarter, 55% indicate high levels of difficulty, a jump of 10% points from Q2. The lack of workers has caused 42% of those contractors reporting difficulty finding workers to turn down work, up from 35% in Q2.

Also, a record 93% of contractors report they are facing at least one material shortage.  An all-time high of 98% of contractors say building product cost fluctuations are having an impact on their business, up 35 points year-over-year.

Contractors are facing concerns about supply chains, worker safety, and talent shortages as they look to recover from the pandemic. Contractors say that less availability of building products/materials is a top concern (62%) related to the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by worker health and safety concerns (38%), and an increase in worker shortages (37%).

Contractors’ concerns are reflected in the index score, which rose just one point this quarter to 66. Two of the three leading indicator scores, confidence in new business opportunities and backlog, improved slightly, while the score for revenue remained unchanged.

However, contractors see improvements over the longer term. 90% of contractors report a moderate to high level of confidence in the market’s ability to provide new business over the next year, up one point from Q2. Project delays due to the pandemic also continue to improve: 60% are experiencing delays (down from 72% in Q2), with an average share of 15% of projects delayed (down from 17% in Q2).