Soaring materials costs, supply-chain problems top construction concerns

The construction industry nationwide and in Alabama is concerned about high materials cost and disruptions in the supply chain, according to a survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America.

About 93% of respondents said the pandemic has driven up their costs, with 80% spending more on PPE and health-related expenses. In Alabama, those numbers were 92% and 68%, respectively.

Nationally, 85% of respondents said their costs for materials, parts and supplies have increased from one year ago. That number is 87% among Alabama respondents.

About 34% of respondents nationwide said they have fewer employees than a year ago, compared to 31% in Alabama, although 20% of respondents nationwide said they’ve added employees, compared to 6% in Alabama.

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As far as the future, Alabama respondents are a tad more optimistic than those nationally. About 47% of state respondents expect volume of business to return to its “normal” level within six months. That number is about 45% nationally.

In releasing the survey, the AGC urged Congress and the administration to take steps to eliminate some tariffs, address shipping backups and boost infrastructure funding.

“The survey results make it clear that the construction industry faces a variety of challenges that threaten to leave many firms and workers behind, even as some parts of the economy are recovering or even thriving,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “The pandemic has left the supply chain for a range of key construction components in tatters and undermined demand for a host of private-sector projects.”

National survey results are available here, with results from Alabama available here.

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