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ABC's Construction Economic Update covers the latest commercial and industrial construction economic news. Delivered electronically, it provides an analysis of the monthly economic indices released by the federal government, including construction spending, employment, the producer price index and the quarterly gross domestic product.  

ABC's 2016 Construction Economic Updates will be delivered according to this schedule.

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For media inquiries, contact Donna Reichle at reichle@abc.org.

Construction Materials Dip for Second Consecutive Month

Prices for inputs to the construction industry fell 0.9 percent in August after shedding 0.1 percent in July. Inputs to nonresidential construction behaved similarly, losing 0.8 percent for the month and 4.7 percent for the year. Read the rest of entry »

Nonresidential Construction Employment Downtick No Cause for Concern

Nonresidential construction employment fell by 700 jobs in August after losing 5,600 jobs in July and 800 jobs in June. Despite the recent slide, nonresidential construction employment is still up 38,800 jobs for the year. 
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Nonresidential Construction Spending Continues to Grow Through Mid-Summer

Nonresidential construction spending expanded 0.5 percent in July and is up 12.7 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to a Sept. 1 release by the U.S. Census Bureau. This represents the strongest year-over-year percentage growth in spending since April 2008. On a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis, nonresidential construction spending totaled $696.1 billion in July, which is the best reading since March 2009. Additionally, June’s estimate was upwardly revised 0.9 percent from $686.9 billion to $692.8 billion.
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Construction Input Prices Trend Lower in July

Prices for inputs to construction industries declined 0.1 percent in July after increasing 0.2 percent in June, according to the Aug. 14 producer price index release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Year-over-year prices were down 3 percent in July and have been down on an annual basis for each of the past eight months. Prices of inputs to nonresidential construction industries declined 0.3 percent on a monthly basis and are down 3.9 percent on a yearly basis. 
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Difficulty in Finding Skilled Construction Workers Evident in Jobs Report

U.S. construction industry employment rose 0.1 percent in July and added 6,000 net new jobs, while the construction unemployment rate shed 0.8 percentage points and now stands at 5.5 percent. Nonresidential construction employment fell by 4,600 jobs in July after losing 800 jobs in June. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors lost 3,700 jobs for the month, while the nonresidential building sector declined by 900 jobs. Residential construction and the heavy and civil engineering segment added 8,200 and 2,900 net new jobs in July, respectively. Read the rest of entry »

Nonresidential Construction Spending Retains Momentum

Nonresidential construction spending was unchanged on a month-over-month basis in June, but is up 11.5 percent on a year-over-year basis according to the report released Aug. 3 by the U.S. Census Bureau. Nonresidential construction spending totaled $686.9 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis for the month and increased 9.8 percent during the year’s first half. Read the rest of entry »

Nonresidential Fixed Investment Falls in Second Quarter

Nonresidential fixed investment fell by 0.6 percent during the second quarter after expanding by 1.6 percent during the first quarter, according to the July 30 real gross domestic product (GDP) report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). For the economy as a whole, real GDP expanded by 2.3 percent (seasonally adjusted annual rate) during the second quarter following a 0.6 percent increase during the year’s first quarter. Note that the first quarter estimate for nonresidential fixed investment was revised upward from -3.4 percent annualized growth. Read the rest of entry »

Construction Materials Prices, Dominated by Crisis Economics, Expand Slightly in June

Prices for inputs to construction industries expanded 0.2 percent in June after increasing 1.1 percent in May. Year-over-year prices were down 2.2 percent in June and prices have not increased on an annual basis for the past seven months. The last time this occurred was the third and fourth quarter of 2009 when the global economy was still reeling from the financial crisis; however, June’s year-over-year decline in construction input prices was the smallest of 2015. Prices of inputs to nonresidential construction industries rose 0.3 percent on a monthly basis, but are down 3.6 percent on a yearly basis. Read the rest of entry »

Nonresidential Construction Employment Remains Essentially Unchanged in June

U.S. construction industry employment was effectively unchanged in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary estimate released July 2, 2015. May’s estimate was revised downward from 17,000 to 15,000 net new jobs. Nonresidential construction lost 1,100 jobs in June, with nonresidential specialty trade contractors losing 5,600 jobs and the nonresidential building segment gaining 4,500 jobs. Residential construction shed 2,400 jobs for the months. The heavy and civil engineering segment added 3,800 net new jobs in June. 
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Nonresidential Construction Spending Continues Growth With Stellar May

Through the first five months of 2015, nonresidential construction spending is having its second best year since the Census Bureau began tracking the metric in 2002. According to the July 1 release, nonresidential construction spending increased 1.1 percent on a month-over-month basis and 8.1 percent on a year-over-year basis, and totals $669.6 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. From January to May, nonresidential spending expanded by 7.1 percent; the only year in which the segment saw faster growth was 2007. Since then, growth over each year’s initial five months has averaged only 1.8 percent. 
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