Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) recently reported that its construction backlog indicator (CBI) rose 10% in the second quarter of 2011 to an average of 8.1 months, up from 7.3 months the previous quarter. The CBI is 12% higher than one year ago. CBI is a forward-looking indicator that measures the amount of construction work under contract to be completed in the future.

“While the increase in construction backlog appears to be good news at first glance, taking a broader look reveals that the rise in the nation’s construction activity may be a reflection of the economic momentum that existed several months ago but is now beginning to weaken,” says ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

Regional highlights include:

• The South continued to report the lengthiest construction backlog of any major region, with project orders rising 1.87 months during the second quarter compared to one year ago.
• Construction backlog in the middle states continued to expand, growing by .25 months, or an 11.8% increase from the second quarter of 2010.
• The Northeast reported the smallest construction backlog increase of .04 months from the same period last year.
• The West experienced a modest construction backlog increase of .61 months from one year ago.