The commercial construction confidence index fell 18 points to a level of 52 in the second quarter of 2020, the largest quarterly decline since the index was launched by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and USG Corporation in 2017.

While the quarter’s drop was significant, the index remains within an overall “Neutral” outlook of the commercial market, with levels of 100 signalling a market “Boom.” 

Confidence in the construction market (the ability of the market to provide new business in the next 12 months) and revenue market (the amount of revenue for the year) both plunged 26 points to levels of 50 and 44, respectively, during the quarter.

The study also found that 73% of contractors expect there will continue to be COVID-19-related project delays in the fall. However, the percentage of projects they expect to be impacted by delays lessen as the year progresses, from 40% in April to an anticipated 35% in July and 23% by October.

Worker health, safety and a reduction in the number of construction projects were the top concerns reported by contractors in the study. Only 34% of contractors reported their companies furloughed or reduced worker salaries as a result of the pandemic, “suggesting that construction is still providing a boost to the U.S. economy,” the report states.

Nearly all contractors (91%) reported they are changing how they work to meet social distancing requirements, and 39% are asking owners to accommodate changes by extending work schedules.

The full report can be found here.