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.

Craft labor shortages are a serious issue with an enormous impact on project productivity.  To gain a better understanding of productivity from their perspective, the Construction Labor Market Analyzer and the Construction Users Roundtable have collaborated in recent years to conduct surveys of construction owners, contractors and unions across the United States.

The new CLMA® white paper, Construction Productivity in an Imbalanced Labor Market, assimilates that data and addresses the construction industry productivity and labor shortage challenges.  It covers 6 key topics, and is now available for download.

  • Construction Productivity Historically
  • Construction Productivity Today
  • Productivity and Project Outcomes
  • Impact of Skilled Labor Shortages on Productivity
  • Mitigating Project Risk
  • Improving Productivity

The data verifies that an imbalanced labor market is a clear leading indicator of poor productivity.  This white paper offers the opportunity to hear from your peers about the labor risk and decreasing industrial construction productivity issues they’re facing.   Read more » about Construction Productivity in an Imbalanced Labor Market

Dodge, ConstructConnect diverge on construction starts trend; PPIs rise in April

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.

Two firms that collect data on the value of new construction starts issued starkly different assessments of April and year-to-date (YTD) starts for the first four months of 2016 combined compared to year-ago periods. April starts slumped 8% from March's level at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, Dodge Data & Analytics reported on Wednesday. "Nonresidential building pulled back [-19%] following its sharp March increase, and residential building also declined [-8%] due to a slower pace for multifamily housing. Meanwhile, the nonbuilding construction sector showed improvement [+10%], with public works strengthening after its lackluster March performance. Through the first four months of 2016, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were reported...down 12% from...a year ago.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: May 7-20, 2016

The following article originally appeared in the May newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

That statement, attributed to the late Peter Drucker, Founding Dean of the Management Consulting Profession, is never truer than at this very time.  Only companies with strong, value-based, magnetic cultures will be the big winners in the business environment that is becoming more evident every day.  There is an intense war for talent, and there is a relentless march of technology.  Smart companies will have smart people empowered with smart technologies, working in teams, to achieve superior performance targets.

So what are the elements of a culture, in light of both the present and the future market conditions, that are proven to attract, retain, develop and excel?  Valid research is now confirming the building blocks.  First, winning cultures are based on values that stem from deeply held core beliefs about the value of people, the treatments of clients and all building partners, and the obligation of the company to the industry and community.   Read more » about Is Your Culture a Magnet?

Employment stalls in April but remains strong year-over-year; spending rises in March

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 April increased by 160,000, seasonally adjusted, from March and by 2,682,000 (1.9%) over 12 months, and the unemployment rate held steady at 5.0%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Friday. Construction employment rose by 1,000 for the month (to 6,670,000) and by 261,000 (4.1%) year-over-year (y/y). Industry employment reached the highest level since December 2008.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: May 2-9, 2016

I recently wrote about the technologies that are disrupters and in the early stages of development. One of the first that we will see in the construction industry is 3D printing.

Most forward thinking contractors and subs are becoming aware of this phrase while designers are incorporating 3D printing into their designs in other parts of the globe. We wrote about the 3D printed houses in China, but that is not the only place where the leadership intends to incorporate this disrupter into their way of life.

One key country that intends to embrace 3D printing is the UAE, specifically Dubai, and the leadership there is making a giant leap to incorporate the technology, as Inside 3D  has reported, Sheikh Mohammed has announced the Dubai Future Agenda.    Read more » about The Disrupters – 3D Printing for the Future

The following article originally appeared in the May 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 asked how much further the rig count will drop, the running joke is that we think it won’t go negative.  Now at over a 75% decline, both nationally and in Texas, from September 2014 (pictured right) the current rig count reflects the complete reversal of the oil and gas industry dynamics from less than two years ago.

Dr. Bill Gilmer, Director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting, noted that in the last seven quarters, Houston has been hit much harder and faster, when compared to the five years in the 1980’s (1982-1986) when oil last saw a comparable downturn.  The difference?  Saudi Arabia’s behavior.  : Read more » about Houston’s Monthly Metrics: May 2016

March data shows 12-month job gains in two-thirds of metros; highest pay rise since 2008

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 March 2015 to March 2016 in 244 (68%) of the 358 metro areas (including divisions of larger metros) for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides construction employment data, decreased in 70 (20%) and was stagnant in 44, according to an AGC release and map on Wednesday that analyzed BLS data. (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 (11,900 construction jobs, 14%), followed by New York City (9,000 combined jobs, 7%); Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell (8,500 construction jobs, 8%); and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (8,300 construction jobs, 14%). The largest percentage gains occurred in El Centro, Calif. (45%, 1,000 combined jobs); Monroe, Mich. (36%, 800 combined jobs); and Haverhill-Newburyport-Amesbury Town, Mass.-N.H. (28%, 1,000 combined jobs).    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: April 25-29, 2016

Building products volumes rise, results vary for prices; nonresidential starts 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.

Securities research firm Thompson Research Group on April 12 released its quarterly building products survey of select manufacturers and distributors with more than 300 locations nationwide "on the state of the residential and nonres[identical] construction end markets....A common theme from all contacts was...a tight labor market along the value chain (truck driver shortages to drywall installers)....Overall nonres volumes are projected to be up mid-to-high single digits, depending upon the industry contact. Earlier construction value chain feedback is for 6-8% [increase in] volumes...Other contacts with a wider range of early and later cycle nonres products cite a...4-6% range. Healthcare end market remains strong, and office growth is also driving demand. Not surprisingly, industry contacts confirm that the multifamily end market growth rates are likely to slow in 2016 [to] (small single digits growth).    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: April 19-22, 2016

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