The post-pandemic world is beginning to take shape as restrictions are lifted and people finally return to offices.

Remote work is probably here to stay in at least some form, but it has become clear that some interactions can only happen in person. Offices, therefore, will still be needed. Living close to downtown will still have advantages, and there should be less need for houses in the suburbs. The healthcare and education sectors will see sustained demand in the future too, as COVID-19 has highlighted faults in existing networks.  

Pre-pandemic trends are taking over in most markets, although with some notable exceptions. Final construction figures have been released for the last quarter and show the number of trade workers steadily growing. This has not been evenly distributed, however. Some markets have improved upon their pre-pandemic figures. Others have made improvements but fall just short of 2019 employment levels. Many more have lost workers over the last year. This is primarily due to the heterogeneous effect of the pandemic on different industries.  

Commodities continue to see an uptick in pricing, and this is expected to last through at least the summer. The price of steel has surged over the last 12 months, as supply chain issues continue to ravage many industries. Plastics and petrochemicals are predicted to increase in the coming months as well – their prices track closely with the price of crude oil, which has seen dramatic increases over the last few weeks. The exact cause ranges from extreme weather to a lack of shipping containers to – most recently – economic sanctions. Prices are likely to decline again, although we expect this to be piecemeal rather than uniform.  

Large cities across the U.S. lifted their remaining pandemic restrictions in the last months. Experts predict that the coronavirus has shifted to being endemic – as contagious and risky as the flu, barring new variants. Confidence in the market remains high, although there is still potential for new variants to emerge. For those in the industry, we continue to sound a note of caution on volatility, as markets regularly change on an almost daily basis. The timing of any project will be important, especially in the next few months.  

Overall, the market outlook continues to be positive. Many markets have seen a decline in volume over the last 12 months, but this is no reason for alarm. Things remain somewhat volatile – sanctions on Russia have driven gas prices up, for example – but as pre-pandemic trends take over, contractors are less likely to be caught off-guard by sudden changes in the market.  


Receive a full version of our

Construction Market Analysis

each quarter.

Key Insights

Select from the most pressing topics this quarter.

Sign Up to Receive the Full PDF – Free