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ConstructConnect’s -2% February Starts Almost Hold Their Ground

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

ConstructConnect announced today that February starts, excluding residential activity, nearly held their own versus an upwardly revised January. The latest month’s level of $26.2 billion was only -1.7% compared with the volume in the month before.

2017-03-21-US-Nonresidential-Construction-Starts-Feb-2017

Throughout the long-term history of the starts, there has been a typical drop – due to weather-related factors − of -2.5% between January and February. Harsh conditions in winter can put a halt to field work. February, however, is the last in a string of months during which starts tend to decline period-to-period on account of seasonality. From March through July, the tendency is for starts to pick up from one month to the next.

Starts in February 2017 versus what was an exceptionally strong February 2016 were -9.2%. Year-to-date starts in 2017 compared with January-to-February of last year were -7.5%.

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 January report was 60%; the latter’s was 40%.
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A Dozen Mid-March Economic Nuggets

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

Further big improvements in America’s labor market statistics at the beginning of this year – with net new jobs creation climbing by almost half a million (+473,000) and the unemployment rate falling to a tight 4.7% − have convinced many analysts that the Federal Reserve will be acting quite aggressively in 2017 to hike interest rates. Where before there was an expectation that the federal funds rate would be lifted two or three times through December, by 25 basis points on each occasion (with 100 basis points equaling 1.00%), the consensus now is for an upward adjustment more frequently, either three or four times.

The Fed is probably hoping to attain, in easy-to-absorb stages over this year and next, a key policy-setting rate close to 3.00%. Nor are stock markets viewing such a prospect with anything like the same amount of dread as in the not so distant past. Share prices have been on a roll that has taken them to all-time highs.

Canada’s most recent employment report had a bottom line figure that wasn’t particularly outstanding (i.e., net new jobs of +15,000 in February), but included in the detail was an impressive increase in full-time staffing (+105,000), with most of the gain (+84,000) coming among what are termed ‘core-aged’ women (i.e., females 25-to-54 years of age).
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9% Drop in ConstructConnect’s January Starts Matches Usual Seasonality

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

ConstructConnect announced today that January’s level of U.S. construction starts, excluding residential activity, was $24.6 billion, a decrease of 9.1% versus the dollar volume in the period before. The month-to-month drop was almost an exact match for the usual December-to-January decline of -8.5%. Due to harsh winter weather – which is another way of saying ‘seasonality’ – January is traditionally the worst month of the year for construction groundbreakings or starts.

2017-02-27-US-Nonresidential-Construction-Starts-Jan-2017

Starts in January 2017 versus their level in January 2016 were also down, -11.6%. January 2017 compared with average January starts over the five years, 2012 to 2016, was +6.0%.

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 December report was 61%; the latter’s was 39%.

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., January 2017) is one month ahead of the reporting period for the investment series (i.e., December 2016.)
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ConstructConnect’s December Starts Defied Seasonality With 3.4% Increase

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

ConstructConnect announced today that December’s level of U.S. construction starts, excluding residential activity, was $24.0 billion, an increase of 3.4% versus the dollar volume in the period before. The gain, small though it may have been, was welcome nonetheless since November-to-December’s long-term average change, on account of inhibiting winter weather, has been -5.0%.

December of 2016, however, compared with December of 2015 was -5.6%. But it’s encouraging that total nonresidential starts for full year 2016 stayed ahead of full-year 2015 by +6.8%.

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 November report was 61%; the latter’s was 39%.

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., December 2016) is one month ahead of the reporting period for the investment series (i.e., November 2016.)

Canada’s Jobs Picture Improved Modestly in November

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Article source: ConstructConnect

Canadian total employment in November rose by 11,000 jobs, according to the latest Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada, marking a slowdown from the three prior months: October, +44,000; September, +67,000; and August, +27,000. July’s change was -32,000 jobs.

From January through November of last year, the average month-to-month gain in total employment in Canada was +12,000. For the same time frame this year, there has been an improvement to +15,000. If the economy were performing better, a figure closer to +20,000 per month would be expected.

The national unemployment rate dropped to 6.8% in the latest month from 7.0% in October. The decline is explained by a lower participation rate, which fell from 65.8% to 65.6%. In other words, a smaller percentage of the labour force was looking for work in November than in the month before.

There are some interesting differences in unemployment rates according to demographic groupings.

For all workers aged 25 to 54, the current jobless rate is lower for women (5.2%) than for men (6.3%).

For older individuals, − i.e., those aged 55-plus − the jobless-rate advantage held by women over men is even more pronounced, 4.7% compared with 6.6%.

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With Few Exceptions, U.S. Construction Material Costs Continue to Speak Softly

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Article source: ConstructConnect

Table 1 accompanying this article sets out U.S. price movements for numerous construction materials from a variety of time markers in the past to the present (i.e., July 2016).

The data comes from the Producer Price Index (PPI) series calculated and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Graphs showing the history of the behind-the-scenes index figures on which the percentage changes in Table 1 are based also appear below.

Some of Table 1’s most significant shifts have been as follows.

The charge for softwood lumber in July of this year was +7.8% compared with six months earlier, but it was a more modest +3.0% when set next to July of 2015.
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Top 10 Largest Construction Project Starts in the U.S. – July 2016

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Article source: ConstructConnect

The accompanying table records the 10 largest construction project starts in the U.S. in July 2016.

There are several reasons for highlighting upcoming large projects. Such jobs have often received a fair amount of media coverage. Therefore, people in the industry are on the lookout for when job-site work actually gets underway. And, as showcase projects, they highlight geographically where major construction projects are proceeding.

Also, total construction activity is comprised of many small and medium-sized projects and a limited number of large developments. But the largest projects, simply by their nature, can dramatically affect total dollar and square footage volumes. In other words, the timing and size of these projects have an exaggerated influence on market forecasts.
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Nonresidential Construction Starts Trend Graphs – July 2016

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Article source: ConstructConnect

Below are six graphs recording 12-month moving averages of ConstructConnect’s nonresidential construction starts.

When the value of the current month is higher than for the same month a year ago, the line will turn up; when lower, it will dip.

String a couple of similar positive or negative directional changes together over several months and one has a trend.

And that’s what the graphs are designed to do, show improving or deteriorating trends in a dozen major and more granular categories of construction work.

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Washington Sets the Pace in Northern Atlantic Region

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Article source: ConstructConnect

The accompanying tables rank seven major cities along America’s northern Atlantic coastline according to eight demographic and economic criteria. In the ‘overall’ listing that appears at the end of this article, Washington comes out best and Philadelphia worst. To reach those conclusions, however, it has been necessary to journey through the following data sets.

Population size: It’s no surprise that New York (20.2 million) is number one in terms of population size. Washington and Philadelphia (both with 6.1 million) are virtually tied for second. Across the U.S. as a whole, the population of Los Angeles (13.3 million) is not as big a step back from ‘The Big Apple’ as one might suppose.

Population change: With respect to population change, measured as the average annual growth rate over the latest two years for which statistics are available, Washington (+1.12%) is on top, followed by Richmond (+1.00%). New York (+0.47%) is in the middle and Philadelphia (+0.28%) and Providence (+0.25%) are barely making any headway at all.

Housing Starts: Residential building permits, as compiled by the Census Bureau and readily made available at the website of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), serve as the equivalent of new home starts for cities in the U.S. Through May of this year, New York (14,582 units) has been the leader in the number of residential building permits issued. Washington (10,937) has placed second. Providence hasn’t even exceeded 1,000-units.
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Nonresidential Construction Starts Trend Graphs – June 2016

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

Article source: ConstructConnect

Nonresidential Construction Starts Trend Graphs – June 2016 – ConstructConnect.com

Below are six graphs recording 12-month moving averages of ConstructConnect ’s nonresidential construction starts.

When the value of the current month is higher than for the same month a year ago, the line will turn up; when lower, it will dip.

String a couple of similar positive or negative directional changes together over several months and one has a trend.
(more…)

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