"That indicates a heightening pessimism level," says James J.Bartsch, CFMA's director of research and analysis, who oversees theproprietary construction industry measure of 200 randomly selectedCFOs in the commercial construction sector.

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The Confidex measure is based on a rating of 100 being"neutral," greater than 100 being "optimistic," and less than 100being "pessimistic." In June, the survey's rating was 97, and theDecember number came in at 79, reflecting that 18% drop inconfidence. The next survey is scheduled for release in March.

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The quarterly reading is made up of eight elements used tocalculate a net score: The state of industry conditions now and inthe year ahead; availability of bank credit now and in the yearahead; state of total construction backlog now and in the yearahead; availability of bonding credit; and availability of workingcapital. Four sub-indices include general business conditions,financial conditions, current confidence and projected outlook.

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And while confidence is lowest relating to commercialconstruction, a CFMA economic forecast webinar did point to a fewgrowth categories: Power plants and related construction;energy--refineries, pipelines, terminals; base realignment-relatedwork; and federal infrastructure projects.

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