- Only one of three major industry segments tracked by ABC experienced an increase in backlog - the commercial construction sector.
- Backlog in the infrastructure category has declined for three consecutive quarters and is now approaching levels consistent with the pre-federal stimulus period.
- Backlog in the heavy industrial category has been nearly unchanged over the past three quarters. Slower investment in this category may at least be partially attributable to a surge in construction materials prices, which may have delayed plans for plant expansion in certain contexts.
"What CBI indicates is that there is a rotation in construction spending taking place, with infrastructure-related spending slowly slipping as stimulus monies are spent down and commercial construction gradually stabilizing along with the broader economy. This pattern will likely continue going forward, but overall construction volume is positioned to decline over the next several months before stabilizing later this year or sometime in 2012," Basu said. "If construction materials prices are better behaved going forward, the recovery in commercial and heavy industrial construction may accelerate. However, infrastructure-related construction is largely dependent upon government budgetary decisions and for now the focus remains largely upon government cost-cutting as opposed to accelerating investment."