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.

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

Employment falls in April, May but April openings rise; various materials prices increase

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 May increased by 38,000, seasonally adjusted, from March and by 2,398,000 (1.7%) over 12 months, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Friday. The unemployment rate declined to 4.7% from 5.0% in April. Construction employment dropped by 15,000 for the month (to 6,645,000) but increased by 219,000 (3.4%) year-over-year (y/y). The estimated change for April was revised from +5,000 to -1,000. Residential construction employment (residential building and specialty trade contractors) decreased by 4,400 for the month but rose by 127,700 (5.2%) y/y. Nonresidential employment (nonresidential building, specialty trades, and heavy and civil engineering construction) shrank by 10,300 for the month but increased by 91,400 (2.3%) y/y.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: June 3-9, 2016

The following article originally appeared in the June 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.

When it comes to oil, $50 is not enough. Those were the sentiments of Jesse Thompson, Business Economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Houston Branch. Complimenting that opinion, Dr. Bill Gilmer, Director of the UH Bauer Institute for Regional Forecasting, earlier this month during his bi-annual symposium, noted that a non-volatile $60 price for oil would result in increased activity. The chart above shows the breakeven price, further supporting their claims.    Read more » about Houston’s Monthly Metrics: June 2016

Spending falls in April but rises year-to-date; Beige Book finds increasing demand, costs

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 April totaled $1.133 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, down 1.8% from March but up 4.5% year-over-year, the Census Bureau reported on Wednesday. The March level was revised up by an unusually large $18 billion (1.6%). The March-to-April decline may reflect "payback" after a mild winter that enabled contractors to do work that normally wouldn't occur before spring. Combined January-April year-to-date (YTD) spending was 8.7% higher than in the same months of 2015. Public construction dropped 2.8% for the month but climbed 6.1% YTD. The largest public component, highway and street construction, fell 0.4% for the month but increased 13% YTD. The other major public segment, educational construction, fell 2.5% for the month but rose 10% YTD. Private residential spending declined 1.5% in April but increased 9.3% YTD.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: May 23-June 2, 2016

Recently, Builtworlds, one of our favorite sites, hosted a Con Tech Forum in Chicago bringing together “national industry thought leaders and change agents for a high-impact, collaborative event that will deepen attendees’ understanding of the unprecedented power and possibilities now available to those who design, build, operate, maintain, plan and trade in our vital, evolving $7-trillion industry.”

The “C suite” only conference held at the Chicago Athletic Association was 48 hours of jam-packed “forward looking information” for executives in construction. The conference speakers touched on a wide variety of lively subjects and hands on experiences that included:

    • Wearables (headsets, helmets, armbands, etc.);
    • Robotics;
    • Modular Construction;
    • Apps for Safety, Reporting, Documentation, Collaboration;
    • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones);
    •    Read more » about Construction Tech Forum

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