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Prolonged Streak of U.S. Beating Canada in Q/Q GDP Growth

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

Article source: ConstructConnect

Explanation of Quarterly and Annual GDP Percent Change Calculations

The mathematics employed to calculate ‘real’ gross domestic product (GDP) levels and rates of change are more convoluted than one might suppose. For a new quarter, GDP line items (e.g., consumption, investment, government spending and exports/imports), after removing the effects of inflation, are added up and adjusted for seasonality. They are also expressed as if they are annual results – i.e., the quarterly figures are ‘blown up’ to a corresponding annual level.

U.S. Beating Canada in Q/Q GDP Growth Graphic

The ‘official’ GDP figure for any year is the average of the levels for the four quarters within that year and the year-to-year growth rate is the percentage change between annual averages.

The figure most often quoted by the press, however, is a quarter-to-quarter GDP growth rate annualized. Such a number compares latest-quarter GDP with previous-quarter GDP to derive a percentage change. Then that percentage change is compounded to the power of four (i.e., ‘annualized’) to account for four quarters in a year.


Top 25 U.S. Cities for School Construction Starts

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

Article source: ConstructConnect

There are 51 metropolitan statistical areas (CMAs) in the United States with population levels above one million. Drawing from ConstructConnect’s data pool for those 51 cities, Table 1 ranks the Top 25 markets in America for educational facility construction starts last year. (Map 1 showcases the Top 20.)


Educational Facility Construction Starts
Top 25 Markets among Biggest U.S. Cities*
Rank by
2018 2017 2018 % Change
$ Value City / MSA                    ($billions) 2018/2017
1 New York, NY-NJ $3.290 $3.367 2.3%
2 Dallas-Ft Worth, TX $2.355 $3.100 31.7%
3 Los Angeles, CA $2.416 $2.626 8.7%
4 Houston, TX $2.778 $2.592 -6.7%
5 Seattle-Tacoma, WA $1.970 $1.560 -20.8%
6 Chicago, IL $1.188 $1.219 2.6%
7 Boston, MA $2.023 $1.217 -39.8%
8 San Francisco – Oakland, CA $1.014 $1.145 13.0%
9 Portland, OR-WA $0.370 $1.117 201.8%
10 Philadelphia, PA $0.790 $1.090 38.0%
11 Atlanta, GA $0.807 $0.991 22.8%
12 Washington, DC – VA  – MD – WV $1.279 $0.966 -24.5%
13 San Diego, CA $0.543 $0.907 67.2%
14 Baltimore, MD $0.917 $0.866 -5.6%
15 Sacramento, CA $0.291 $0.852 193.0%
16 Austin, TX $0.961 $0.762 -20.7%
17 San Antonio, TX $1.142 $0.735 -35.6%
18 Las Vegas, NV $0.286 $0.654 128.7%
19 Orlando, FL $0.640 $0.613 -4.1%
20 Salt Lake City, UT $0.660 $0.609 -7.7%
21 Cleveland, OH $0.369 $0.586 59.0%
22 Raleigh, NC $0.372 $0.574 54.3%
23 Denver, CO $0.422 $0.573 35.8%
24 Minneapolis – St Paul, MN – WI $0.843 $0.561 -33.4%
25 Providence, RI-MA $0.306 $0.551 80.1%
*There are 51 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the U.S. with populations exceeding onemillion.
Data source and table: ConstructConnect ‘Insight’.



Ramifications of U.S. Shutdown Ripple outwards to China and Canada

Friday, January 25th, 2019

Article source: ConstructConnect

U.S. Census Bureau workers are off the job due to Washington’s partial funding shutdown. As a result, current statistics on housing starts, retail purchases and foreign trade are not available.

This is no minor matter. It will be difficult to accurately calculate national output – i.e., the important gross domestic product (GDP) measure – without reliable data on many of its key components. GDP growth, or lack thereof, is one key determinant of Federal Reserve interest rate moves. The Fed will struggle over whether to be ‘hawkish’, ‘dovish’, or stick with neutral.

Furthermore, the ramifications of economic data omissions are not solely limited to the U.S.

The U.S. and China are engaged in a trade skirmish, with tariffs on Chinese goods entering the U.S. slated to increase to 25% from 10% at the end of March, if there is no resolution. The U.S. has been running a huge trade deficit with China for years. In many months, it has been in a range of 40% to 50% of the total U.S. merchandise trade shortfall with all nations.

13 Mid-December Economic Nuggets

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Article source: ConstructConnect

The tail that is attempting to wag the dog these days is the stock market. With only two weeks remaining in 2018, America’s major stock market indices have moved, at best, sideways versus close-of-year 2017. The Dow Jones Industrial Index (DJI) is currently -0.5% relative to its closing level on December 31 of last year. The S&P 500 is -0.9% and NASDAQ, -2.4%.

13 Mid-December Economic Nuggets Graphic

North of the border, the Toronto Stock Exchange is -9.0% compared with year-end 2017.

The FANG stocks have been leading the retreat in equity prices. Since the summer of this year, the share price of Facebook, which has experienced confidentiality problems galore, is -29.2%; Amazon, the retail sector’s ‘disruptor-in-chief’, is -19.9%; Netflix is -34.1%; and Google/Alphabet, -16.2%. Even Apple has moved out of favor, -26.3%. On August 2nd, Apple became the world’s first trillion-dollar company, but of course that valuation no longer stands.

The Federal Reserve has been paying attention. Earlier, the Chairman of the Fed was adamant that he wanted to see the federal funds rate return to its ‘equilibrium’ or neutral level of 3.00%. Neutrality is when prevailing interest rates are neither too stimulatory nor too contractionary.

The current level of the federal funds rate is in a range of 2.00% to 2.25%. The likelihood is still high there will be another 25 basis-point (where 100 basis points equals 1.00%) increase later in this month of December. The schedule for next year, however, is no longer as firmly established. Fed Chairman, Jerome Powell, has stated that future action on interest rates will be ‘data driven’.

By the way, the stock markets also really don’t like the tariff skirmish with China. Whenever there is even a hint of a resolution of that dispute, investors respond ecstatically.


Top 10 Project Starts in the U.S. – November 2018

Friday, December 14th, 2018

Article source: ConstructConnect

The accompanying table records the top 10 project starts in the U.S. for November 2018.


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 jobsite 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.


Equity Price Patterns of 39 Companies with Ties to Construction

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

Article source: ConstructConnect

There’s nothing complicated about today’s article. It simply examines, with the aid of the accompanying table, the latest 12-month performances of the share prices of nearly 40 well-known companies.


The 39 firms have been arranged alphabetically according to their primary industrial activity. Not all sectors are represented. One obvious omission is ‘health care’. CVS and Walgreens-Boots under ‘General Retail’ will have to serve as proxies.

But there has been an attempt to capture companies with direct or indirect (i.e., through capital spending on manufacturing facilities, retail space, etc.) ties to construction.

For each company, the two right-hand, percentage-change columns compare the current share price with: (1) the latest 12-month low; and (2) the latest 12-month high.

With respect to 12-month lows, percentage changes that are 50.0% or more have been shaded lightly in gray.

With respect to 12-month highs, percentage changes that are -20.0% or more steeply negative have been shaded in red.


Infographic: Notable U.S. and Canada Construction Project Starts

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Article source: ConstructConnect

Due to its complexity, much of the subject matter concerning the economy requires detailed editorial commentary, often supported by relevant tables and graphs. This infographic looks at notable U.S. and Canada construction project starts.

Infographic: Notable U.S. and Canada construction project starts

At the same time, though, there are many topics (e.g., relating to demographics, housing starts, etc.) that cry out for compelling ‘short-hand’ visualizations.

Whichever path is followed, the point of the journey, almost always, is to reach a bottom line or two.

To provide additional value at its corporate blog site, ConstructConnect is now pleased to offer an ongoing series of Infographics.

These will help readers sort out the ‘big picture’ more clearly.

to view the latest infographic  Click Here


Austin, San Jose and Orlando Lead U.S. Large City Labor Markets

Friday, May 25th, 2018

Article source: ConstructConnect

Tables 1 and 2 accompanying this article set out the latest (March 2018) year-over-year jobs growth and unemployment rate rankings for the 51 largest (by population) U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The raw data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The objective for any city is that its jobs growth be faster rather than slower and that its unemployment rate be lower rather than higher. The total U.S. pace of employment gain has most recently been +1.5% year over year, while the national jobless rate has dropped to 3.9%.

The three U.S. cities with the best combined results from Tables 1 and 2 are: Austin, TX; San Jose, CA; and Orlando, FL. In March of this year, Austin was first for jobs growth (+3.6%) and tied for sixth with respect to unemployment rate (3.1%). Orlando was second for jobs growth (+3.5%) and tied for ninth with respect to unemployment rate (3.3%). San Jose was ninth for jobs growth (+2.7%), but tied for first with respect to unemployment rate (2.7%).

An Eye-Popping 3.9% Unemployment Rate in April’s U.S. Jobs Report

Friday, May 4th, 2018

Article source: ConstructConnect

April’s Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) highlights a month-to-month increase in total U.S. jobs of +164,000. But that figure understates the employment improvement, since March’s level was revised upwards by +30,000.

U.S. April Jobs Report Graphic

Therefore, the accumulated gain in April was +194,000 jobs.

The average monthly increase in total U.S. employment through the first one-third of this year has been +200,000. In 2017, during the same January-to-April time frame, the average monthly climb was +117,000. The year-over-year increase in the monthly average is +13.0%.

The number that really pops out from the latest data release on the U.S. labor market, however, is the unemployment rate. Prior to April, it had been sitting at 4.1% for six months in a row.

In April, it finally dropped below 4.0% to stand at 3.9%. A 3.9% jobless figure is the lowest since December 2000, almost two decades ago.

Furthermore, there is another measure of the unemployment rate calculated by the BLS that is broader in scope and habitually higher. Its official title is U-6 and it includes individuals only marginally attached to the labor force, plus those who are engaged part-time but would prefer to be occupied full-time.



11 Mid-April Economic Nuggets

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Article source: ConstructConnect

Despite U.S. construction continuing to record a total activity level below potential, the sector should be receiving more bouquets for the bigger role it is playing in the economy overall.

11 Mid-April Economic Nuggets Graphic

Historical data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records that in the year 2000, the number of manufacturing jobs in America’s economy was 17.3 million. The same source records that the number of construction jobs at the turn of the century was 6.8 million.

In 2017 versus 2000, the number of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. was down by 28% to 12.4 million, while the number of construction jobs was ahead by 3%, to 7.0 million.

The clearest way to illustrate the rising importance of construction relative to manufacturing, at least from an employment standpoint, is to express their relationship in terms of a ratio. In 2000, there were four jobs in construction for every ten jobs in manufacturing. Now, there almost six on-site jobs for every ten production-line positions.

More dramatic still has been the shift in favor of construction work in Canada. In 2000, there were 2.2 million Canadian manufacturing jobs compared with 800,000 in construction. By 2017, manufacturing employment had retreated by -23%, to 1.7 million, while construction employment had surged by +75%, to 1.4 million.

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