The construction industry remains busy across most major cities in the United States, as revealed by the latest analysis of crane activity.
The RLB Crane Index for North America, released biannually by Rider Levett Bucknall, tracks the number of fixed cranes on construction sites as a barometer of the construction industry’s workload in different locations. Of the 14 cities surveyed, only one saw a decrease in crane activity.
Chicago and Denver had the most positive snapshots in the report. Chicago nearly doubled its crane count in recent months, representing an 80% increase, and Denver saw a 52% increase in crane activity from Q1 of 2022.
The largest sectors reflected in the report were multi-family buildings, accounting for half of crane activity; mixed-use projects, accounting for 20% of activity; and commercial construction, accounting for 15%.
Other cities that saw increased crane activity included Boston, New York, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Seattle and Portland.
Crane activity remained flat in two major cities in California—San Francisco and Los Angeles—and in Washington D.C. and Toronto.
The only city analyzed that saw a marked decrease in crane activity was Calgary, in Canada’s Alberta province, where a slew of ongoing residential projects reached completion.
“Key market indicators are returning to pre-pandemic levels, demonstrating that the industry appears to be recovering from the impacts of COVID-19,” a summary of the report stated. “However, drivers in the market – including inflation, labor shortage and supply chain issues – continue to impact construction, whether it be through cost or schedule.”
Collectively, commercial cranes are up over 50% in all cities surveyed, according to the report.
Despite volatile economic conditions, the report says that crane activity will increase in 2023 because new construction projects will continue to break ground.
“Key market indicators are returning to pre-pandemic levels, demonstrating that the industry appears to be recovering from the impacts of COVID-19,” the report stated.