FMI's 2014 Fourth Quarter Nonresidential Construction Index report (NRCI) shows a slight increase from 62.5 in the third quarter to 62.8 in the fourth quarter of 2014. This is nearly 5.5 points ahead of fourth quarter 2013. An NRCI greater than 50 indicates improvement or expansion.
There are many good reasons for optimism by NRCI survey respondents this quarter. The top-three are: businesses are starting to build again, backlogs are expanding and future business looks good with low inflation. A close fourth is a sense of financial security with improved balance sheets.
However, the costs of labor and materials are still on the rise, thus holding down the overall NRCI score. In addition, nearly one-fourth of the panelists expressed concern about the availability of skilled labor.