Now that we’ve passed the one-year anniversary of the start of COVID-19 lockdowns across the U.S., we’re finally seeing parts of the country move toward reopening — a trend that’s likely to continue as more of the country gets vaccinated. Since the rollout of vaccines in December, the United States has administered a total of 165 million vaccines, with at least 61 million people, or 18% of the population, being fully vaccinated, and these numbers are rapidly climbing.*
Current estimates also suggest that if vaccination rates remain at two million or more a day, a majority of the population should be at least partially vaccinated by the end of this summer.
It’s a positive sign — and this continued push toward reopening seems to be reflected in the industry.
Earlier this month, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) released an economic update that stated the construction backlog indicator rose to 8.2 in February. Coupled with this, the most recent Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reported that the ABI score has climbed above 50%* for the first time in a year — and along with it, contractor confidence.
As ABC chief economist Anirban Basu stated in a recent economic report, “projects are reinitiating more rapidly than previously anticipated, driving up both backlog and contractor sentiment.” This renewed activity helps solidify the fact that many contractors are feeling more certain about where the industry will be later this year.
Of course, it’s still important for contractors to remain vigilant. Even though confidence about the economic state of the industry is up, product inflation and material cost increases are still issues that could worsen in the next month or two. It’s critical that contractors keep this in mind when putting together bids/contracts.
These times often show us that even in the face of adversity, contractors get it done.
Still, it’s nice to see some light on the horizon after 2020.