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Archive for the ‘ConstructConnect’ Category

Stock Market Prices Playing Sidekick Role in a ‘Buddy Movie’

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

As shown in Graphs 1, 2 and 3, the most widely known and discussed U.S. stock market indices – Dow Jones Industrial (DJI), S&P 500 and NASDAQ – all set new record highs in July.

On a year-over-year basis, the DJI at the close of last month was +18.8%; the S&P 500 was +13.6%; and NASDAQ especially stood out with a gain of +23.0%.

Just as remarkable have been the improvements in those three indices relative to their prior peaks.

Since its previous summit in October 2007 (13,930), the DJI is +57.2%.

Since October 2007 (1,549), the S&P 500 is +59.5%.

Also since October 2007 (2,859), when it managed a mini-peak, NASDAQ is presently +122.0%. NASDAQ is even up substantially (+35.2%) relative to its ‘Mt. Everest’ of peaks in February 2000 (4,696), when the ‘dot.com boom’ was in full swing.

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Ranking the Economic Performance of Canada’s Provinces – Heat Graph

Monday, November 6th, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

Chart 1 of this article sets out, for each of Canada’s provinces, the most recent year-over-year growth rates for seven demographic and economic variables – population, housing starts, total jobs, hourly earnings, weekly earnings, retail sales and export sales.

An eighth measure is also included, the unemployment rate, but it is a ‘level’ rather than a growth rate.

To compare how the provinces are doing relative to each other, Chart 2 rearranges the results from Chart 1 in a ‘heat’ graphic. The methodology is as follows.

In each column of Chart 1, when the percent change number is equal to or higher than the Canada-wide figure, the relevant ‘cell’ is highlighted in yellow (for ‘warm’).

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Seven Surefire U.S. Job Creators

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

The U.S. total employment increase since the Great Recession has been quite strong. Most type-of-job categories have bounced back with remarkable resiliency.

2017-09-13-US-Jobs-Graphic

There are seven areas within the economy, however, where the jobs improvement has gone well beyond most others. Their employment levels have displayed almost nothing but ascending progressions.

They even moved through 2008-09’s Big Dip relatively unscathed.

Due to their upbeat story, I thought it would be fun to put the seven on display in this article.

Few of the seven will come as a surprise. Most have already received much media attention.

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13 Mid-September Economic Nuggets

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

Hurricane Harvey, which first struck southern Texas on Saturday August 25, and Hurricane Irma, which reached landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday September 10, will ‘muddy’ the economic statistics for months to come. Estimates of the physical damage range widely, with $200 billion as the current outer limit.

Homes, shopping malls, schools, churches, fast-food outlets, abandoned motor vehicles and fragile vegetation were all victimized, to varying degrees, by storm surges, flooding and crushing winds. In the aftermath, restoring power and ensuring the safety of roads and bridges have been the immediate concerns.

Many building material suppliers and contractors, working together with insurance companies and government relief bodies, will be immersed in lengthy rebuilding efforts. The labor availability problem will become more acute.

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Chief Economist Alex Carrick Shares Outlook on 2018

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

Employment and revenues for architecture, engineering and construction have grown modestly for most of 2017. But the signals for the next 12 months are mixed, with architectural billings positive, construction starts uneven and contractors hiring, but worried about finding enough qualified workers. Meanwhile, there is huge uncertainty about the impact of potential changes in tax, infrastructure, immigration and other types of policy. How will these cross-cutting influences play out?

On November 1, three of the industry’s leading economists will come together for the annual Design and Construction Industry Economic Forecast, where they’ll discuss the changing landscape of commercial construction, the opportunities and challenges facing the industry as well as strategic insight on industry trends.

Construct Connect recently spoke to Alex Carrick, Chief Economists for ConstructConnect, for a quick discussion about his thoughts on the current state of the construction industry and where things are heading.

ConstructConnect: How long have you been hosting this webcast, what’s it about and who should attend?

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2 Leading Monitors of U.S. Construction Activity, 1 Public and 1 Private – Early Fall 2017

Monday, October 16th, 2017


Article source: ConstructConnect

The percentage levels and changes in Table 1 are based on the Census Bureau’s seasonally-adjusted (SA) August 2017 and earlier put-in-place construction statistics. ‘Put-in-place’ as a concept is meant to mirror work-in-process or progress payments as projects proceed.

2017-10-03-US-Put-in-Place-Aug-2017

For each type-of-structure, Table 1 takes the behind-the-scenes put-in-place data and compares the percentage changes of latest-12-months-over-previous-12-months versus latest-three-months-over-previous-three-months (annualized).

If the three-month percent change exceeds the 12-month percent change, then construction activity in that type-of-structure category is considered to be speeding up. A check mark is entered in the far right column. (If the opposite is occurring, a check mark is entered in the ‘slowing down’ column.)

If a type-of-structure category has a latest 3-month percent-change that is negative, but less negative, than its 12-month percent-change, such a circumstance is also considered to be an instance of ‘speeding up’ and warrants a check mark in the right-hand column. (Or, if it’s turning more negative, then it’s ‘slowing down’ further.)
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Average U.S. August Jobs Report Takes Back Seat to Hurricane Harvey

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

August’s Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records a month-to-month increase in U.S. total employment of +156,000.

The +156,000 figure is a little weaker than the seven-month average so far this year of +176,000.

Furthermore, this year’s January-through-August average of +176,000 is -9.2% compared with the +194,000 number for the same time frame last year.

Just the same, +150,000 or more is a benchmark that defines when a jobs report should be greeted with warmth.

The nation’s unemployment rate in August eased back a little to 4.4% from 4.3% in July.

Goods production contributed more towards the total jobs increase in August than is normally the case. Mining, forestry, construction and manufacturing combined for a +70,000 month-to-month jobs gain, or nearly 50% of the +156,000 total.

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U.S. September Jobs Report Delivers a ‘Sit Up and Pay Attention’ Moment

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has just delivered a ‘sit up and pay attention’ moment. Its September Employment Situation report records a month-to-month deterioration (-33,000) in the total number of U.S. jobs for the first time in seven years, dating back to September 2010 (-52,000).

2017-10-06-US-Labor-Graphic

Before economy watchers start gnashing their teeth or bemoaning too loudly, the BLS is quick to point out that there was a special circumstance – horrific weather – that caused the employment downfall.

The jobs numbers are derived from a survey of payrolls. Employees in Texas and Florida who missed receiving paychecks early in September due to the fierce onslaughts of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were accorded out-of-work status.

Hence, September’s jobs numbers fell prey to two unique but in many way twin events. There will almost certainly be distortions in October’s numbers as well, but in the opposite direction, as rebuilding rebound effects come into play. (more…)

ConstructConnect’s June Starts Stumbled, but YTD Stayed Positive at +2%

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

ConstructConnect announced today that June construction starts, excluding residential activity, fell -13.7% versus May. The usual May-to-June change, due to seasonality, is +4.5%.

2017-07-13-US-Nonresidential-Construction-Starts-June-2017

June of this year versus a strong June of last year was -16.3%. Standalone June of this year versus June’s average level over the previous five years (2012-2016 inclusive), however, was a more upbeat +2.8%.

Year-to-date starts through the first half of this year, compared with January-to-June of last year,  stayed positive at +2.4%.

The starts figures throughout this report are not seasonally adjusted (NSA). Nor are they altered for inflation. They are expressed in what are termed ‘current’ as opposed to ‘constant’ dollars.
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ConstructConnect’s YTD Starts +2% after May’s Rise of +5%

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

ConstructConnect announced today that May construction starts, excluding residential activity, were +5% versus April. The modest rise fell a little short of the usual percentage change between April and May, due to seasonality, of +8%.

2017-06-12-US-Nonresidential-Construction-Starts-Apr-2017

Versus May of last year, nonresidential starts in the fifth month of this year were +2.0%.

Compared with January through May of last year, the year-to-date volume of starts in 2017 has been +1.9%.

The starts figures throughout this report are not seasonally adjusted (NSA). Nor are they altered for inflation. They are expressed in what are termed ‘current’ as opposed to ‘constant’ dollars.

‘Nonresidential building’ plus ‘engineering/civil’ work accounts for a considerably larger share of total construction than residential activity. The former’s combined proportion of total put-in-place construction in the Census Bureau’s April report was 56%; the latter’s was 44%.

ConstructConnect’s construction starts are leading indicators for the Census Bureau’s capital investment or put-in-place series. Also, the reporting period for starts (i.e., May 2017) is one month ahead of the reporting period for the investment series (i.e., April 2017.)
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