Open side-bar Menu
 The AEC Lens
Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect
Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect
Alex Carrick is Chief Economist for ConstructConnect. He is a frequent contributor to the Daily Commercial News and the Journal of Commerce. He has delivered presentations throughout North America on the Canadian, United States and world construction outlooks. A trusted and often-quoted source for … More »

ConstructConnect’s February 2018 Starts -8.4% Versus Prior Five-Year Average

 
March 19th, 2018 by Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect

Article source: ConstructConnect

ConstructConnect announced today that February’s volume of construction starts, excluding residential activity, was $23.6 billion. The latest month-to-month change in the volume of starts, at -24.3%, was more than the usual mild drop from January to February due to seasonality.

2018-03-19-US-Nonresidential-Construction-Starts-February-2018

February of this year relative to February of last year was -35.5%. The level of starts in February 2017, however, was unusually high, $36.6 billion. Comparing February of this year with the average for February in the preceding five years (2013 to 2017), the change was -8.4%. February of this year versus the average for the four years 2013 to 2016 (i.e., omitting 2017) was +2.4%.

Year-to-date nonresidential starts in 2018 have been -26.4% versus January-February of 2017. The first-two-months of this year versus the comparable period in 2016 was a less severe slide of -3.2%.

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.


View this information as an infographic
.

‘Nonresidential building’ plus ‘engineering/civil’ work accounts for a larger share of total construction than residential activity. The former’s combined proportion of total put-in-place construction in the Census Bureau’s January report was 60%; the latter’s share was 40%.

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., February 2018) is one month ahead of the reporting period for the investment series (i.e., January 2018.)

Over the past four months, jobs growth in construction has been surging. From November 2017 through January 2018, the month-to-month employment pickups were +42,000, +42,000 and +40,000 respectively. February’s result was a further quickening of the pace, +61,000. The combined four-month gain in construction hiring has been +185,000 jobs. The last time there was such a substantial four-month increase was from January to April 2006, +193,000. In 2006, though, there was a homebuilding boom, fueled by subprime mortgages, that turned into a bust.

Total construction employment is still half a million jobs below its prior peak in 2007, before the onset of the Great Recession. That gap will likely be eliminated quickly. According to the latest Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U.S. construction sector is generating jobs at a year-over-year rate (+3.7%) that is more than twice as fast as for all workers in the economy (+1.6%). The unemployment rate in the sector in the latest February was 7.8%. Twelve months ago, it had been 8.8%. The jobless figure is traditionally worse in winter.

The Employment Situation report also includes jobs results for three other sectors with close ties to construction. Employment with ‘real estate’ offices in February was +1.7% year over year; with ‘building material and garden supply stores’, +3.9%; and with ‘architectural and engineering services’ firms, +3.3%. Since designers must provide assembly instructions before projects can proceed, their +3.3% staffing increase suggests ongoing healthy construction activity.
Read the rest of ConstructConnect’s February 2018 Starts -8.4% Versus Prior Five-Year Average

3 Maps Showing 2017 versus 2016 Housing Starts in American States

 
March 13th, 2018 by Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect

The three maps in this infographic focus attention on the 2017-over-2016 percentage changes in homebuilding activity in America’s states. The Census Bureau does not publish home starts statistics at the state level, but it does compile and release residential permits numbers.

3 Maps Showing 2017 versus 2016 Housing Starts in American States Graphic

Therefore, the shadings in the maps are based on permits data (in units). The words ‘permits’ and ‘starts’ will be used interchangeably in the following commentary.

The total number of new home permits in the U.S. in 2017 was +6% compared with 2016. As the ‘legend-key’ sets out, individual states with percentage increases over +6% are shaded in green − for warmth.

As the shading moves from lighter green to darker green, the percentage increases move higher.

States shaded in blue − for chillier − had year-over-year increases that were +6% or less. The darkest shades of blue are reserved for states where there were significant 2017-over-2016 declines.

Read the rest of 3 Maps Showing 2017 versus 2016 Housing Starts in American States

Total U.S. Jobs +313,000 in February; Construction and Manufacturing Combine for +92,000

 
March 13th, 2018 by Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect

Article source: ConstructConnect

In February, the U.S. recorded its biggest month-to-month jump in total employment in more than a year-and-a-half, according to the latest Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Total U.S. Jobs +313,000 in February; Construction and Manufacturing Combine for +92,000 Graphic

A monthly net increase in jobs of +170,000 is acceptable; +200,000 is good; +300,000 is outstanding. February’s number was +313,000. (The last time a better result was achieved occurred in July 2016, at +325,000 jobs.)

The average jobs increase in the first two months of this year has been +20% compared with the average for January-February of last year, +276,000 over +230,000.

Because more people returned to the labor force and the participation rate climbed from 62.7% to 63.0% between January and February, the unemployment rate stayed at 4.1%. The jobless rate has been 4.1% for the past five months in a row, dating back to October 2017.

Read the rest of Total U.S. Jobs +313,000 in February; Construction and Manufacturing Combine for +92,000

Construction Material Costs – Latest PPI, IPPI and RMPI Results, U.S. and Canada

 
March 2nd, 2018 by Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect

Article source: ConstructConnect

When assessing building material cost changes, the primary source for the U.S. is the Producer Price Index (PPI) data series calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). (The BLS is also responsible for the Consumer Price Index.)

2017-05-05-US-Canada-PPI-Graphic

For Canada, one turns to the Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI) and Raw Materials Price Index (RMPI) data series from Statistics Canada.

While the history of the latest PPI numbers (Table 1) extends to January 2018, the IPPI and RMPI figures (Table 2) are currently available only through December 2017.

The PPI results include specific findings for ‘final demand construction’ (i.e., overall construction) as well as private capital versus government investment, plus five specific type-of-structure sub-categories.

Read the rest of Construction Material Costs – Latest PPI, IPPI and RMPI Results, U.S. and Canada

Ten Mid-February Economic Nuggets – With a Focus on Inflation Fears

 
March 1st, 2018 by Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect

Article source: ConstructConnect

At the beginning of February, there was a great deal of volatility in the U.S. major stock market indices. They fell into ‘correction’ territory, which in ‘market-talk’ means they dropped by 10% from their peaks, before steadying and heading cautiously upwards again.

Ten Mid-February Economic Nuggets Graphic

Some of the initial downward movement was due to profit-taking, on the heels of years of exceptional equity price gains. As the retreat grew more severe, however, it became harder to explain, especially since the recently passed tax cuts will provide an extra boost to corporate bottom lines.

A consensus explanation gradually emerged and it goes as follows. Yes, the economy is growing rapidly and job creation is outstanding. But maybe output growth and labor market conditions are too good. The level of unemployment has dropped near a historical low. Can wage restraint hold? Furthermore, there is a synchronous world expansion underway and commodities demand is heating up. Prices for key raw materials are climbing once again.

All these developments have the potential to light a fire under inflation. And if inflation is on the rise, the Federal Reserve may feel the need to initiate ‘cooling’ interest rate hikes faster than earlier anticipated. Some economic forecasting firms are already projecting there will be four, not three, interest rate increases this year.

Therefore, perhaps the hottest topic for discussion throughout 2018 will be how inflation is performing. Specifically, is the ‘Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U)’ busting free from its +2.0% (year over year) bondage and raising more havoc?

Read the rest of Ten Mid-February Economic Nuggets – With a Focus on Inflation Fears

New Industry Snapshot dated February 2018 and based on January starts stats

 
February 15th, 2018 by Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect

Article source: ConstructConnect

ConstructConnect announced today that January’s volume of construction starts, excluding residential activity, was $29.3 billion. The fact that some of the monthly starts numbers can display wild swings is confirmed by the following. January 2018’s volume of starts relative to December 2017’s level was +35.8%; but January 2018 compared with January 2017 was -22.6%.

2018-02-14-US-Nonresidential-Construction-Starts-January-2018

The outsized percentage changes resulted from December 2017 being abnormally low ($21.6 billion) and January 2017 being inordinately high ($37.9 billion). Usually, it’s the presence or absence of a mega project or two that causes the monthly number to display extreme volatility.

Comparing January of this year with the annual average for January from the preceding five years, 2013 to 2017, − i.e., employing a ‘smoothing’ technique, − yields an increase of +9.7%.

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.

View this information as an infographic.

Read the rest of New Industry Snapshot dated February 2018 and based on January starts stats

Canada’s January Jobs Report Shocks on the Downside

 
February 8th, 2018 by Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect

Article source: ConstructConnect

After exceptional increases in total employment in the final two months of last year – i.e., +81,000 jobs in November and +65,000 jobs in December − January of 2017’s figure of -88,000, as just reported for Canada by Statistics Canada, is a major shock.

The foregoing numbers are based on seasonally adjusted (SA) data. SA versus NSA (not seasonally adjusted) will become important as this article unfolds.

Canada’s January Jobs Report Shocks on the Downside Graphic
To place the latest month in context, January’s steep slide was the most severe since January 2009’s descent of -125,000 jobs. But in January 2009, the Great Recession was feasting on the economy and the resulting devastation in the labour market was not unexpected.

To lose 88,000 jobs when year-over-year GDP has been growing nicely, at a pace of about +3.0%, is quite another matter.

Furthermore, the composition of that drop seems unusual. There was a +49,000 gain in full-time work that was overwhelmed by a -137,000 step-down in part-time jobs.

At no other time since the turn of the century has the month-to-month retreat in part-time jobs been as dramatic as -137,000. The sharpest decline prior to the latest month was only 60% as bad, at -78,000 in March 2011.
Read the rest of Canada’s January Jobs Report Shocks on the Downside

2018’s First Monthly Jobs Report Launches Year in Fine Style

 
February 2nd, 2018 by Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect

Article source: ConstructConnect

In January, net new U.S. jobs creation was +200,000, according to the latest Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The +200,000 jobs figure was greater than the monthly average increase throughout last year of +176,000.

The unemployment rate in the latest month stayed the same as in December, at 4.1%. Only rarely in the past has the jobless level been better. The last time it managed to slip below 4.0% was seventeen years ago, in 2000 at the beginning of the new century.

2018-02-05-US-Construction-Labor-GraphicThe ongoing strength in employment continues to find confirmation in the weekly initial jobless claims data. At the height of the Great Recession, the number of first-time unemployment insurance seekers in the economy soared to a truly unpleasant peak of 653,000.

A figure of 300,000 or less is generally considered by analysts to be the benchmark for when the labor market is ticking along smoothly. After the Great Recession, it seemed to take forever for initial jobless claims to recede to the 300,000 level.

The actual length of time that was covered waiting for that magic moment was six years. It occurred for the week ending March 7, 2015.

Oh how things have changed since then!

In four weeks’ time, if initial jobless claims remain low, they will be under 300,000 for 156 weeks in a row, or three straight years. (For January 13, 2018, they were a ‘rock bottom’ 216,000. For the latest week ending January 27, 2018, they were 230,000.)
Read the rest of 2018’s First Monthly Jobs Report Launches Year in Fine Style

Rankings of U.S. State Construction Employment Statistics

 
January 8th, 2018 by Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect

Article source: ConstructConnect

The tables accompanying this article highlight some of the key statistics on construction employment in 48 U.S. States. The source material from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) omits Delaware, the District of Columbia (D.C.) and Hawaii. The most recent data is for November 2017 and is not seasonally adjusted (NSA).

2018-01-05-US-Construction-Labor-Graphic

Table 1 ranks states by number of construction workers; Table 2 ranks states by year-over-year change in number of construction workers; and Table 3 ranks states by year-over-year percentage change in number of construction workers.

It’s not surprising that the large-population-states also account for the highest numbers of construction workers. The ranking positions 1 through 7 in Table 1 − i.e., California followed by Texas, Florida, N.Y., Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio − exactly correspond with the latest (for July 1, 2017) state population rankings.

Further down the listing, however, there are some significant variances. For example, Georgia is 8th for population, but 11th for construction employment; Michigan is 10th for population, but 13th for construction employment; New Jersey is 11th for population, but 15th for construction employment; Washington is 13th for population, but 9th for construction employment; Maryland is 19th for population, but 12th for construction employment; Colorado is 21st for population, but 14th for construction employment; and Louisiana is 25th for population, but 17th for construction employment.

Read the rest of Rankings of U.S. State Construction Employment Statistics

U.S. December Jobs Creation ‘Weakish’, but Construction Compensation Bullish

 
January 5th, 2018 by Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect

Article source: ConstructConnect

U.S. net total jobs creation in the final month of last year was a tepid +148,000, according to the latest Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The ‘weakish’ December result caused the monthly average throughout all 2017 to pull back slightly to +171,000

Just the same, +171,000 as a monthly average in 2017 signifies a more than satisfactory performance, although it was down from 2016’s comparable figure of +187,000.

The U.S. unemployment rate in December remained the same as in November, at an exceptionally tight 4.1%.

The seasonally adjusted (SA) number of U.S. construction jobs recorded a nice gain in December of +30,000. Such a substantial increase in employment for on-site workers was the biggest leap since February 2017’s +54,000.
Read the rest of U.S. December Jobs Creation ‘Weakish’, but Construction Compensation Bullish

Kenesto: 30 day trial
CADalog.com - Countless CAD add-ons, plug-ins and more.



Internet Business Systems © 2018 Internet Business Systems, Inc.
25 North 14th Steet, Suite 710, San Jose, CA 95112
+1 (408) 882-6554 — Contact Us, or visit our other sites:
TechJobsCafe - Technical Jobs and Resumes EDACafe - Electronic Design Automation GISCafe - Geographical Information Services  MCADCafe - Mechanical Design and Engineering ShareCG - Share Computer Graphic (CG) Animation, 3D Art and 3D Models
  Privacy PolicyAdvertise