Rising interest rates and ongoing political fights in Washington haven’t dampened the mood of Associated Builders and Contractors members, according to the group's latest survey.

“As the economic recovery enters its fifth year, nonresidential construction prospects continue to brighten,” said ABC’s chief economist, Anirban Basu. “A variety of industries ranging from professional and health services to leisure and retail continue to add jobs, and vacancy rates in many product categories throughout the country are falling, creating new opportunities for developers and their contractors.” 

ABC’s Construction Confidence Index surveys members who perform nonresidential building on sales prospects, profit margins and staffing levels during the first half of the year. A number above 50 in any category is positive. Figures below 50 are unfavorable.

Compared to the final six months of 2012:

●In the sales expectation category, the figure rose from 62.3 to 63.

●The profit margin index declined from 55.9 to 55.3.

●Staffing level expectations went up from 59.6 to 60.

“While there is debate regarding the pace of economic expansion going forward, there seems to be little worry about another recession, implying that opportunities for contractors will continue to expand,” Basu said. “This helps explain the construction confidence readings, which have steadily expanded despite emerging reasons for concern—keeping roughly in lockstep with an ongoing gradual recovery that has averaged about 2 percent annual growth since the recession ended.”