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FMI’s first quarter Nonresidential Construction Index came in at 64.9 points, showing a 7.5 point increase from the fourth quarter 2013 index, as well as a 6.8 point increase from the first quarter of last year. It’s also the highest NRCI score to date.
Industry consultant FMI says nearly half of panelists in the index survey expect construction to grow up to 5 percent this year.
Challenges remain, however. Panelists cited the following as particular concerns this year: hiring talented people, finding profitable work and uncertainty about government decisions over the economy.
Highlights of the index, compared with the fourth quarter 2013 index:
Overall economy: The number of panelists saying the overall economy is improving jumped 19.1 points to 79.8 points.
Local markets improve, a gain of 15.4 points to 77.0 points.
Those saying their backlog has improved now stand at 65.7 points. While an improvement over the last quarter, this is still lower than a year ago. The median backlog for panelists remains at nine months.
In this quarter’s survey, 56 percent of panelists say they plan a 0 to 5 percent increase in staff, and 18 percent plan to add 5 to 10 percent to their full-time payroll.