The current and future economy, trends in design and construction, political influence – sometimes we have something to say about topics which may be signs of things to come.

Contractors are upbeat about 2017 markets; job growth slows as openings soar

Editor’s note:  Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.

Contractors are optimistic, on balance, about the 2017 outlook for nonresidential and multifamily construction, based on the 1,281 responses to a survey that AGC released on Tuesday. About 46% expect the available dollar volume of projects they compete for in 2017 to be higher than in 2016, while 9% expect the volume to be lower, for a net positive reading of 36%. The net reading was positive for all 13 market segments included in the survey, the net was highest for hospital and retail, warehouse and lodging construction, at 23% each; followed by private office, 20%; manufacturing, 18%; highway and public building, 15% each; higher education, K-12 school and water/sewer, 14% each; multifamily and other transportation, 11% each; power, 10%; and federal construction, 7%.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: January 6-13, 2017

Emily Peiffer, the editor over at Construction Dive, recently posted a feature article titled 10 Construction Trends to Watch in 2017. Since hers is one of the first of 2017, I thought that we would share the list and give you the link so that you can take a deeper dive into the list at your leisure. Here is Emily’s provocative list.

  1. Collaborative project delivery methods will become more popular.
  2. The labor shortage will continue to plague the industry.
  3. The feeling of uncertainty will linger under the new administration.
  4. Offsite/modular construction will gain a stronger foothold in the market.
  5. Construction firms are cautiously optimistic for a future infrastructure-spending boost.
  6. Read more » about Construction Trends for 2017

Construction spending hits 10-year high; apartments and warehouses remain hot

Editor’s note:  Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.

Construction spending totaled $1.182 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in November, an increase of 0.9% from the October rate and 4.1% year-over-year (y/y) from the November 2015 rate, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday. The rate was the highest since April 2006. Private residential spending increased 1.0% in November and 3.0% y/y. New multifamily construction slumped 2.7% for the month but increased 11% y/y; new single-family construction gained 1.8% from October but declined 0.9% y/y; and residential improvements rose 1.5% for the month and 6.8% y/y. Private nonresidential spending climbed 0.9% for the month and 6.4% y/y. By subsegment, in descending order of November size, power (electric power plus oil and gas pipelines and field structures) edged up 0.5% for the month and 1.5% y/y; commercial (retail, warehouse and farm) added 0.3% for the month and 12% y/y; manufacturing skidded 1.1% in November and 8.0% y/y; office jumped 1.9% in November and 31% y/y to an all-time high; and health care fell 0.2% in November and 2.6% y/y.   Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: Dec. 22, 2016-Jan. 5, 2017

The following article originally appeared in the January newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, now a part of FMI Corporation, for the purpose of providing the latest leading indicators and industry issues to those clients.  Reprinted with permission.

“[2017] isn’t likely to be a banner year for the region’s economy, but it should be a further step on the road back to robust growth.” Those were the sentiments of Patrick Jankowski, Senior Vice President of Research at the Greater Houston Partnership, after unveiling his Houston employment forecast of 29,700 for 2017.

For construction, however, there is still more pain to be had. Digging into Jankowski’s numbers, construction is predicted to lose 16,000 jobs in 2017, largely due to the expected slowdown in the heavy industrial work. City of Houston permits also continue to track down in total dollar volume from a year ago, and are more heavily weighted to renovations and additions rather than new construction.   Read more » about Houston’s Monthly Metrics: January 2017

Fewer metros post job gains; nonresidential starts are mixed; ABI hugs breakeven level

Editor’s note:  Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.

Construction employment, not seasonally adjusted, increased from November 2015 to November 2016 in 211 (59%) of the 358 metro areas (including divisions of larger metros) for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides construction employment data, decreased in 86 (24%) and was stagnant in 61, according to an AGC release and map on Tuesday. (BLS combines mining and logging with construction in most metros.) The number of areas with increases was the lowest for November since 2012. The largest percentage gains again occurred in Boise, Idaho (21%, 4,000 combined jobs), followed by El Centro, Calif. (17%, 600 combined jobs), Albany, Ore. (16%, 400 construction jobs) and Weirton-Steubenville, W. Va.-Ohio (16%, 300 combined jobs). As in October, Denver-Aurora-Lakewood (9,600 combined jobs, 10%) and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (9,600 construction jobs, 15%) tied for the most jobs added; they were followed by Seattle-Bellevue-Everett (8,100 construction jobs, 9%) and Las-Vegas-Henderson-Paradise (7,900 construction jobs, 15%). The largest job losses again were in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land (-12,700 construction jobs, -6%), followed by the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale division (-4,400 construction jobs, -3%) and Orange-Rockland-Westchester, N.Y. (-3,400 combined jobs, -8%).    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: December 19-21, 2016

34 states add jobs; PPIs for new buildings and construction inputs each rise 0.8%

Editor’s note:  Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.

Seasonally adjusted construction employment rose in 34 states from November 2015 to November 2016, declined in 14 states, and held steady in Montana, Nebraska and the District of Columbia, an AGC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released today showed. Nevada led in percentage gain (12%, 8,400 jobs), followed by Iowa (10%, 8,300), Washington (9.4%, 16,500), Oregon (8.4%, 7,000) and Colorado (8.3%, 12,800). The most jobs added were again in California (35,100 jobs, 4.7%), Florida (23,200, 5.3%), Washington and Colorado. Kansas again had the steepest percentage loss (-5.9%, -3,600), followed by Wyoming (-5.7%, -1,300), Alabama (-4.4%, -3,600), Connecticut (-3.8%, -2,200), Maine (-3.7%, -2,200) and Kentucky (-2.9%, -2,200). New York lost the most jobs (-6,400, -1.7%), followed by Alabama and Kansas, then Kentucky and Connecticut. For the month, employment rose in 29 states and D.C., and shrank in 21 states. (AGC's rankings are based on seasonally adjusted data, which in D.C. and six states is available only for construction, mining and logging combined.)

The producer price index (PPI) for final demand in November, not seasonally adjusted, increased 0.1% from October and 1.3% year-over-year (y/y) from November 2015, the BLS reported on Wednesday. AGC posted tables and an explanation focusing on construction prices and costs.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: December 12-16, 2016

The following article originally appeared in the December newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC for the purpose of providing the latest leading indicators and industry issues to those clients.  Reprinted with permission.

On November 10th, in front of thousands of attendees, Dr. Bill Gilmer, Director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston, laid out his forecast for Houston in 2017. After recognizing the bumpy and considerably steep decline in the energy sector, Dr. Gilmer remained optimistic about Houston’s economy overall, feeling that the worst is likely in the rear view mirror and that Houston will begin to recover in 2017.

Dr. Gilmer outlined a series of scenarios, largely dependent on when the energy sector will rebound, with the weighted average being a loss of approximately 22,000 job growth in 2016, 4,500 jobs added in 2017 and then ramping up to 74,800 jobs in 2018 and 85,100 in 2019.   Read more » about Houston’s Monthly Metrics: December 2016

Fewer metros add construction jobs in October; Dodge, Beige Book report mixed starts

Editor’s note:  Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.

Help AGC generate a comprehensive construction business outlook for 2017 by taking their 2017 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook survey.

Construction employment, not seasonally adjusted, increased from October 2015 to October 2016 in 223 (62%) of the 358 metro areas (including divisions of larger metros) for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides construction employment data, decreased in 73 (20%) and was stagnant in 62, according to an AGC release and map on Tuesday.(BLS combines mining and logging with construction in most metros.) Two metro areas tied for the most jobs added (10,800 combined jobs): Denver-Aurora-Lakewood (an 11% increase) and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (17%); they were followed by Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale (9,900 construction jobs, 10%), the Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. division (9,000 construction jobs, 10%) and Las-Vegas-Henderson-Paradise (8,500 construction jobs, 16%).   Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: November 22-30, 2016

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