BlueTarp Financial—the leading credit management company for B2B suppliers—released its Q1 2019 Building Supply Index. The Q1 2019 seasonally unadjusted average declined from 125.59 in 2018 to 120.97, the most significant year-over-year decline since Q2 2016.
The decline continues to be driven by a drop in consumer confidence. After it peaked at 137.9 in October, the highest in nearly two decades, consumer confidence dipped to 124.2 in March 2019, the lowest in over a year.
Based on BlueTarp’s supplemental survey, nearly 20 percent of contractors report lower sales in Q1 2019 vs. last year, driven in part by more difficult weather this year compared to prior years. However, they report a slightly more optimistic view of the economy in the next 12 months, which mirrors the rebound in the equity markets in Q1 and continued strong GDP and employment news.
“Our index picked up a noticeable drop in spend per contractor in Q1,” says Scott Simpson, CEO of BlueTarp. “We suspect this to be weather-impacted and will rebound but it could be something more meaningful if the trend continues in Q2. We’ll be watching.”
To interpret the Index, values below 100 reflect recessionary or recovering performance. Values above 100 reflect healthy economic activity.
The report represents trends from 120,000 pro customers and over 1,000 active building material suppliers across the United States. It also incorporates macro-economic drivers including building permits, construction spend, and consumer confidence as reported monthly by the Census Bureau and The Conference Board.