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.

35 states add jobs in September; Dodge predicts starts will rise in 2017; ABI slips again

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 August 2015 to August 2016 and fell in 15 states and the District of Columbia, an AGC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released on Friday showed. Iowa again led in percentage gain (18%, 13,700 jobs), followed by Colorado (13%, 19,400), Hawaii (11%, 3,900) and Idaho (11%, 4,200). The most jobs added were again in California (30,900 jobs, 4.2%), Florida (22,800, 5.2%) and Colorado. Wyoming had the steepest percentage loss (-9.2%, -2,100), followed by Kansas (-7.7%, -4,700), Montana (-6.9%, -1,800) and North Dakota (-6.3%, -2,100). Kansas lost the most jobs, followed by Alabama (-3,500, -4.3%) and Pennsylvania (-2,600, -1.1%). For the month, employment rose in 21 states and D.C., shrank in 24 states and was unchanged in five. (AGC's rankings are based on seasonally adjusted data, which in D.C., Hawaii and five other states is available only for construction, mining and logging combined.)

Dodge Data & Analytics released its 2017 construction outlook on Thursday, forecasting that "total U.S. construction starts for 2017 will advance 5%..., following gains of 11% in 2015 and an estimated 1% in 2016.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: October 20-24, 2016

PPIs edge mostly higher; starts reports are mixed; union pay agreements trend up

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.

The PPI for final demand in September, not seasonally adjusted, increased 0.2% from August and 0.7% year-over-year (y/y) from September 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Friday. AGC posted tables and an explanation focusing on construction prices and costs. Final demand includes goods, services and five types of nonresidential buildings that BLS says make up 34% of total construction. The PPI for final demand construction, not seasonally adjusted, edged up 0.1% for the month and 0.8% y/y. The PPI for new nonresidential building construction—a measure of the price that contractors say they would charge to build a fixed set of five categories of buildings—rose 0.7% y/y. Changes ranged from 0.1% y/y for industrial building construction to 0.4% for schools, 0.5% for healthcare buildings, 1.1% for warehouses and 1.2% for office buildings.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: October 8-19, 2016

Yesterday the Greater Houston Partnership hosted a reception in their newly-built convening space located in the heart of downtown to allow media including myself an opportunity to view their gorgeous venue designed to show visiting CEO’s and government dignitaries exactly how wonderful and diverse the Houston region is for both business and living.

Partnership Tower is a ten-story building consisting of parking below and office space above, and featuring a 13,000 square foot configurable space which opens up to a 2,030 square foot terrace overlooking the George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green, and the Marriott Marquies hotel.  Views from the floor-to-ceiling walls inside offer impressive views of the downtown skyline as well as Minute Maid Park, home to the Houston Astros, next door.  Also nearby is BBVA Compass Stadium and easy access to the light rail system.  While it is difficult to look away from the stunning view of the city outside, the interior wall of the hall featured a photo wall consisting of local scenes representing industry and leisure and showing the many faces of the region, all taken by Houston-based photographers.   Read more » about Partnership Tower Offers Stunning New View of Houston

The following article originally appeared in the October 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.

Did Houston already go into a recession? Jesse Thompson, Business Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas - Houston Branch, noted the Houston Business Cycle Index shows that Houston entered a recession late 2015/early 2016. He provided a chart (right) showing the correlation between rig count and Houston’s core oil and gas related employment noting “further revisions will like confirm what we’ve already observed: that Houston’s economy is contracting, and that Houston may or may not be out of it yet.”

However, fueling the recovery discussion is the renewed optimism in the Purchasing Managers Index’s oil and gas respondents, who for the first time in several months, seemed happier and more upbeat. The PMI itself increased to 46.1 in August – still in an overall contraction phase, but production, sales and new orders were all noticeably up, a leading indicator.   Read more » about Houston’s Monthly Metrics: October 2016

September employment hits highest level since 2008; August spending slides

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.

Nonfarm payroll employment in September increased by 156,000, seasonally adjusted, from August and by 2,447,000 (1.7%) year-over-year (y/y), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today. The unemployment rate (5.0%) inched up from 4.9% in August, as the number of jobseekers increased more than hiring. Construction employment (6,669,000) increased by 23,000 from the upwardly revised August total to the highest level since December 2008. Over the past 12 months, industry employment rose by 218,000 or 3.4%, twice as fast as total nonfarm employment. Residential construction employment (residential building and specialty trade contractors) rose by 15,700 for the month and 146,000 (5.9%) y/y.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: October 3-7, 2016

We take note of developments in the 3D printing world, and a recent article in Forbes titled “Can 3D Printing Transform Construction?” by Freddie Lawson caught our eye.

Why? Mainly because it refers to the Daedalus Pavilion designed and built by a joint venture of Arup and AiBuild for the nvidia GPU Technology Conference.

The pavilion was built using a large scale 3D printer, new GPU processors and learning software. Additionally, it looks fantastic and opens another door into the possibilities for early adopters of 3D printing in the construction industry.

   Read more » about 3D Construction Printing Update

Number of metros with job gains hits three-year low; nonresidential starts rise sharply

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 August 2015 to August 2016 in 220 (61%) of the 358 metro areas (including divisions of larger metros) for which BLS provides construction employment data, decreased in 76 (21%) and was stagnant in 62, according to an AGC release and map on Wednesday. (BLS combines mining and logging with construction in most metros.) The number of metros with increases was the smallest since April 2013 but the number with decreases was similar to other months; this could suggest contractors in some metros are unable to find the workers with requisite skills. The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area again added the most (11,400 combined jobs, 12%), followed by the Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. division (10,200 construction jobs, 11%) and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (10,200 construction jobs, 17%) and the %).    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: September 26-30, 2016

Fewer states show job gains; AIA survey suggests worker shortages may be the reason

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 36 states from August 2015 to August 2016, declined in 13 states and the District of Columbia, and was unchanged in Nebraska, an AGC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released on Tuesday showed. The number of states with increases was the smallest since April 2013, which may indicate either a slowing in construction activity or contractors having greater difficulty in finding acceptable workers. The highest percentage gains again occurred in Iowa (19%, 14,400 jobs) and Hawaii (12%, 4,300), followed by Colorado (11%, 16,800) and Idaho (9.2%, 3,500). Iowa and Massachusetts set new records. The top four states in number of jobs added were again California (29,300 jobs, 4.0%), Florida (22,000, 5.1%), Colorado and Iowa. Kansas lost the highest percentage and number of construction jobs (-7.7%, -4,700), followed in percentage decline by Montana (-7.2%, -1,900), North Dakota (-6.5%, -2,200) and Wyoming (-5.7%, -1,300). Alabama lost the second-largest number of construction jobs (-3,500, -4.3%), followed by North Dakota, Montana and Kentucky (-1,900, -2.5%). From July to August, seasonally adjusted construction employment increased in 24 states, shrank in 25 states and D.C., and was unchanged in Montana.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: September 20-23, 2016

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