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Non-Residential Construction Index Rises

According to FMI, the Non-Residential Construction Index (NRCI) for the overall economy rose 5.7 points in the fourth quarter to 53.8. The positive move, however, is still 19.1 points lower than the high for the year in the second quarter.

Improvements in the outlook for the broader economy have not been enough to pull up the component for panelists’ construction business, which dropped 1.6 to 58.3 in the fourth quarter, FMI said.

Highlights include:

  • Nonresidential Building Construction Market Where Panelists Do Business: At 53.8, there was no change in this component from last quarter.
  • Change in Backlog: The drop of 1.6 in the expected change in backlog matches panelists’ expectations for their overall business. The component now stands at 56.8.
  • Cost of Materials: The cost of materials for construction continue to rise as the component dropped 9.2 points to 23.5 this quarter.
  • Cost of Labor: At 31.2, the cost of labor is essentially unchanged for the last three quarters.
  • Productivity: The productivity index slipped 0.8 points, as improvements seen in the first two years of the recession are now harder to find.