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Construction Executive presented its "2022 Q1 Construction Economic Update and Forecast" webinar with ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu on March 30. The presentation, focused on the state of the economy, including the spectre of inflation, supply-chain woes and the labor market in the post-pandemic world.

Using data from February (courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), Basu detailed how compensation is expected to continue on its rise as raises and benefits aren't yet keeping up with the rate of inflation. Basu also said that the U.S. labor force has shrunk post-pandemic and job openings are rising, with 1.8 job openings available per every unemployed worker.

Basu presented metrics from the construction materials producer price index showing an average increase of 24.4% year-over-year, while crude petroleum and steel mill products showed 66.6% and 74.4% increase, respectively, as of February. While concrete products showed relatively low 10% 12-month increase, Basu stated that number is still high compared to an average 3% inflation in recent years.

The presentation concluded with Basu’s forecast of rising interest rates as the U.S. Federal Reserve System tries to tamp down on inflation. He predicted 5% inflation for 2022.

The webinar included live polls from the audience, with questions on profit margins, the status backlogs and the leading challenges firms face. The result from these polls are below, compared with polls from previous forecast webinars. 

The full recording can be accessed here.

Basu's 2022 forecast webinar from December can be found here.



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