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.

PPIs for building inputs rise in May but fall for year; industry employment stalls in June

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 producer price index (PPI) for final demand in June, not seasonally adjusted, increased 0.7% from May but only 0.3% year-over-year (y/y) from June 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today. 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, increased 0.1% for the month and 2.0% 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—also rose 2.0% y/y.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: July 8-14, 2016

Spending slips in May but rises year-to-date; surveys find divergent material prices

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 in May totaled $1.143 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, down 0.8% from April but up 2.8% year-over-year, the Census Bureau reported on Friday. Monthly levels for January-April were revised up by $18-23 billion (1.6-2.0%), and levels for 2014 and 2015 were also revised. Unusually mild winter weather and extremely rainy weather in parts of the country in May might have thrown off monthly totals. Combined January-May year-to-date (YTD) spending was 8.2% higher than in the same months of 2015. Public construction dropped 2.3% for the month but climbed 3.8% YTD.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: July 1-7, 2016

The following article originally appeared in the July 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.

While Brexit and its implications globally are still being analyzed and debated, the United Kingdom’s decision to separate itself from the European Union is seen as a positive, and necessary, move.  While it will stunt the growth of Europe in the short term, to paraphrase Dr. Bill Gilmer with the Institute for Regional Forecasting, the train wreck is unavoidable so at least they are off the train.   Read more » about Houston’s Monthly Metrics: July 2016

Most metros add jobs through May; NAHB finds widespread craft-worker shortages

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 May 2015 to May 2016 in 227 (63%) of the 358 metro areas (including divisions of larger metros) for which BLS provides construction employment data, decreased in 83 (23%) and was stagnant in 48, according to an AGC release and map on Wednesday. (BLS combines mining and logging with construction in most metros.) The Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. division again added the most jobs during the past year (14,700 construction jobs, 17%), followed by Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (9,700 construction jobs, 16%); and Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale (7,200 construction jobs, 7%). The largest percentage gains again occurred in Monroe, Mich. (30%, 700 combined jobs), followed by Urban Honolulu (20%, 4,900 combined jobs), Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine and the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall division (17%, 6,800 construction jobs).    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: June 24-30, 2016

Earlier this month, Jim Kollaer wrote here on Construction Citizen that more than 400 new high rises are planned for London's skyline:

“That number is astonishing to me. That is 436 new buildings that will be added to the existing skyline. Sure, a number of them are either residential or mixed use, and the majority of them are office buildings; but it appears that the demand for the space is there waiting for the supply to catch up,” Kollaer wrote.

Jim's report was spot-on at the time, but last week’s vote by the British to exit, or “Brexit,” the European Union could severely hamper that construction market for a variety of reasons.    Read more » about Brexit Vote Could Impact UK's Ability to Build the London of Tomorrow

Construction employment rises in 39 states; ConstructConnect, ABI signal more growth

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 39 states from May 2015 to May 2016 and declined in 11 states and the District of Columbia, an AGC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released on Friday showed. California again added the most jobs (39,600, 5.5%), followed by Florida (29,400, 6.9%) and Georgia (13,400, 8.1%). The highest percentage gains again occurred in Hawaii (20%, 6,700 jobs), Iowa (13%, 10,400) and Nevada (10%, 6,900). North Dakota again lost the highest percentage of construction jobs, followed by West Virginia (-8.0%, -2,700), Kansas (-5.6%, -3,400), Wyoming (-5.2%, -1,200) and Alaska (-5.0%, -900). North Dakota also led again in number of jobs lost, followed by Kansas, Pennsylvania (-2,900, -1.2%) and West Virginia.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: June 17-23, 2016

Those sounds you hear are the screams of agony emanating from the labor unions in the construction industry in New York City. For the first time in recent history, three major contractors, Turner, Tishman and Plaza Construction have joined with several lesser-known companies to open their private sector sites to non-union labor.

This is a move that, in the recent past, would not have been considered on commercial and residential projects in New York, long a hotbed of union labor in the construction unions. This is an especially critical change in a market like New York City where densities and construction rules for both public and private sector projects have long mandated that construction workers on the major sites must have apprentice training in order to be employed.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Construction Unions’ Grip on New York Begins to Show Cracks” states that the major construction firms have declined “to renew collective bargaining agreements with unions, opening the door for more non-union workers and sending the clearest signal yet that once mighty construction trade groups are losing their grip on private-sector construction work.”   Read more » about Wowee Batman!

Construction input PPIs decline year-over-year but rise in May; more hikes appear likely

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 producer price index (PPI) for final demand in May, not seasonally adjusted, increased 0.3% from April but fell 0.1% year-over-year (y/y) from May 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Wednesday. 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, increased 0.1% for the month and 1.9% 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—also rose 1.9% y/y. Changes ranged from 1.2% y/y for industrial building construction to 1.6% for healthcare buildings, 1.9% for schools, 2.1% for office buildings, and 2.7% for warehouses.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: June 10-16, 2016

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