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.

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

Job growth continues in 35 states; PPIs remain mild; multifamily market appears to slow

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 35 states from September 2015 to September 2016, declined in 14 states and the District of Columbia, and held steady in West Virginia, an AGC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released on Friday showed. Iowa again led in percentage gain (13%, 10,400 jobs), followed by Nevada (13%, 9,200), Colorado (11%, 16,400) and Washington (10%, 17,300). The most jobs added were again in California (34,100 jobs, 4.6%) and Florida (28,400, 6.6%), followed by Washington and Colorado. Kansas had the steepest percentage loss (-7.6%, -4,700), followed by Maine (-7.5%, -2,000), Wyoming (-7.4%, -1,700) and Delaware (-6.0%, -1,300). Illinois lost the most jobs (-5,500, -2.5%), followed by Kansas, Kentucky (-3,500, -4.5%) and Pennsylvania (-3,000, -1.3%). For the month, employment rose in 23 states and D.C., shrank in 23 states and was unchanged in four. (AGC's rankings are based on seasonally adjusted data, which in D.C., Delaware and five other states is available only for construction, mining and logging combined.)

The PPI for final demand in October, not seasonally adjusted, was unchanged from September and increased 0.8% year-over-year (y/y) from October 2015, the BLS reported on Wednesday.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: November 14-21, 2016

Voters pass numerous construction ballot and bond measures; job openings rise

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.

Voters approved several long-term measures to increase local sales taxes for public construction and operations on Tuesday. Los Angeles and San Diego voters each approved measures to raise the sales tax rate ½-cent in 2017 to generate $120 billion and $18 billion, respectively, over 40 years. In Los Angeles, construction would begin on $2.5 billion each in 2018 and 2019 on projects including local street improvements. Spending in San Diego would include transit and road projects. Atlanta-area voters approved varying amounts of sales tax increases for expanding and improving mass transit and other transportation.   Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: November 7-11, 2016

Economic and political uncertainty call into question the durability of this week’s Wall Street rally, but the election of Donald J Trump as the next President of the United States has not inflicted the kind of damage to markets that many analysts expected.

That is in large part thanks to Trump’s tone on election night.

In the early morning hours of Wednesday after Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton called the Republican candidate to concede, Trump gave a victory speech in which he thanked his former political opponent for her service and even said the nation owes her a debt of gratitude.

“I mean that very sincerely. Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together,” Trump said. “To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”

“I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all of Americans, and this is so important to me,” Mr. Trump said. “For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I'm reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.”   Read more » about Construction Firms See Stocks Rise in Wake of Tumultuous Election

Recently at the annual Kiley Advisors Update Conference for construction industry owners in Houston, keynote speaker Christopher Daum, the President and CEO of FMI Corporation, discussed the ownership succession issues facing those current owners of construction companies, especially private family-owned sub contractors, as they come to the end of their careers and begin to wonder what will happen to their companies after they are gone. Though no one in the room would admit to it, many are at the end of the road looking for succession options at a time when we are all living in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world made even more so by the cyclical nature of the construction industry and the demographics of the workforce that contains their future partners or owners.

Daum explored and examined a number of possibilities for ownership succession in detail, but he made one point that hit several of the owners in the audience right between the eyes.    Read more » about Ownership Succession in Construction Companies

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