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Archive for March, 2019

A Chill in U.S. February Employment Numbers, Canada’s Performance Perkier

Friday, March 8th, 2019

Article source: ConstructConnect

February’s Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics delivered the kind of U.S. total employment change, month to month, that we have become unaccustomed to seeing. Net jobs growth was quite weak, at only +20,000. It’s been 17 months since the figure was comparably low, +18,000 in September 2017.

A Chill in U.S. February Employment Numbers; Canada’s Performance Perkier Graphic

Over the last several years, the month-to-month jobs gain has usually been at least +175,000, often exceeding +200,000. In the first month of this year, January, it was +311,000.

On the brighter side, the unemployment rate in the latest month improved to 3.8% from 4.0% in the prior period.

There was only one major industrial sector with a substantial pick-up in nominal number of jobs in January, ‘professional and business services,’ +42,000. The staffing increases were evenly and widely spread among segments of the sector (e.g., accounting, design, computer, and help-wanted services).

‘Education and health services’ added just 4,000 jobs, but that was because education services declined by -19,000 jobs. ‘Health care and social assistance’ wasn’t shy about hiring, lifting its combined payroll by +23,000.

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2018 Residential Construction Market Highlights − U.S. and Canada

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

Article source: ConstructConnect

Issuance of year-end data on U.S. new homebuilding activity was delayed due to the partial government shutdown which kept Census Bureau workers away from their desks.

2018 Residential Construction Market Highlights − U.S. and Canada Graphic

Over the past month, however, there have been diligent catch-up efforts and December’s preliminary residential ‘starts’ and ‘permits’ numbers are now available.

There are ‘starts’ at the national level; but for states and cities, the figures are based on building permits.

This article will mainly concentrate on new home groundbreakings in America’s largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). ‘Permits’ in units will be accepted as equivalent to ‘starts’.

‘Permits’ are first published by the Census Bureau, then repackaged in a more user-friendly form by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

When Canadian statistics are mentioned, they have been made available by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and they are ‘starts’.

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Rankings of States and Provinces by Roadwork Construction Starts

Monday, March 4th, 2019

Article source: ConstructConnect

The table and maps accompanying this article feature comparisons of highway, street and roadwork construction starts in all the states, plus District of Columbia, in two ways: (1) by dollar-volume level, taking the annual average over the past two years (2017 and 2018); and (2) per capita (i.e., the dollar volume in (1) divided by each individual state’s population).

Rankings of States and Provinces by Roadwork Construction Starts Graphic

In some states, there can be considerable variation in the dollar volume of roadwork starts from one year to the next. Therefore, it seems only fair to smooth the series out a bit, and hence the reason for utilizing a latest-two-years average.

On the left-hand side of Table 1, there is a ranking of all states and D.C. according to their level of roadwork construction starts. Sixteen states have exceeded an annual average of $1.0 billion over the past two years and they are highlighted in Map 1. Washington state, at $995 million, and New Jersey, at $980 million, just missed the cut.

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