Growth and Caution: New Construction Industry Stats from Q1 2022

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The Latest from the Trimble Viewpoint Q1 2022 Construction Metrics Index

TL;DR: Hiring is up across the industry, regionally and by vertical. Cash flow and new projects are also up quarter over quarter in Q1 2022, but continue to lag behind Q1 2021 levels.

Optimism shone through the numbers in our last Construction Metrics Index for the second half of 2021; but as the year-over-year numbers rolled in from the first quarter of 2022 year, it was clear that anticipation has cooled. However, there is still a lot of upward momentum to be found in the quarter-over-quarter construction metrics from Q1 2022.

Hiring is up across the industry, regionally and by vertical. While the gains are modest, any increase is worth celebrating, given the challenges in hiring, not just in the construction industry, but nationwide.

Cash flow also increased substantially, demonstrating that contractors are likely gearing up to launch new projects, many of which are coming online as part of the recently passed $1 trillion-plus Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

New projects were also up quarter-over-quarter, yet still down year-over-year. And contract values remained down across the industry as well. This tells the story of a construction industry still feeling its way out of several years of pandemic pains, supply chain test, and ongoing skilled labor and efficiency challenges.

Read on as we break down some of the numbers behind the trends, or skip ahead and download the latest Q1 2022 Construction Metrics Index.

By the Numbers: 2022 Construction Project Trends by Vertical

Here’s a look at some of the key takeaways from the the Q1 2022 Construction Metrics Index:

  • New projects increased by a modest 2% over the course of 2021. During the first quarter of 2022, new projects increased 10% quarter over quarter. However, when evaluated against Q1 2021, new projects are still down 20% year over year. This is a similar refrain in most of Trimble Viewpoint’s metrics for this period.
  • Specialty contractors fared the best in Q1 2022, with 70% more projects compared to Q4 2021—far more than the 10% increase that was projected for the quarter. However, when compared to Q1 2021, new projects are still down 12%.
  • General contractors also saw an increase in projects in Q1, up 14% from Q4, but 36% less when compared to Q1 2021.
  • Heavy highway and civil contractors saw a 10% increase in contract values compared to Q4, but 41% less when compared to Q1 2021.

Those who read last quarter’s report on the Q3-Q4 2021 will recall that construction hiring trends, though strong, were still not enough to make up for the massive losses in the workforce during 2021. The numbers in the first quarter of 2022 indicate construction hiring may be turning a corner.

To see all of the Q1 2022 numbers on hiring, contract values, and cash flow trends, get the latest Trimble Viewpoint Construction Metrics Index.

Posted By

Charity Heller leads the Viewpoint content team. She is passionate about engaging new audiences and creating relationships through storytelling, data, strategy, and inclusion.