ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator is the only economic indicator that reflects the amount of work that will be performed by commercial and industrial construction contractors in the months ahead. The Construction Confidence Index is a diffusion index that signals construction contractors’ expectations for sales, profit margins and staffing levels. View the methodology for both indicators. 

 

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News Releases

Unusually mild weather in much of the country coupled with general improvement in the nation’s economy benefited construction and consequently construction unemployment rates in November. Not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates for the country and 37 states were lower than in November 2014. As of November, year-to-date seasonally adjusted (SA) employment in construction increased by 215,000 in the U.S. Meanwhile, NSA construction jobs nationally increased by 267,000 from November 2014 to November 2015.

Unusually mild weather in much of the country persisted in December benefiting construction and reducing the size of the normal seasonal increase in construction unemployment rates. December marked the warmest, or one of the warmest, Decembers on record for most cities in the eastern half of the country. Not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates for the country and 32 states were lower than in December 2014. The construction unemployment rates for three states—Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska—were unchanged from a year ago.

Unusually mild weather in much of the country continued into the first part of January but ended for the East near the end of the month with the brutal storm dubbed “Snowzilla.” The storm did not hit until after the reference week used for surveying employment and unemployment. This undoubtedly helped to temper the normal rise in the not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates for the nation, which rose from a relatively low December rate of 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent in January. This is the lowest January national construction unemployment rate going back to the beginning of the series in January 2000.

Temperatures remained above normal for much of the country in February. However, precipitation rates were also above normal for much of the East and below normal for much of the West and parts of the South. These factors contributed to the not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates for the nation maintaining a low February rate of 8.7 percent, a slight rise from January’s similarly low 8.5 percent rate. It was also the second lowest February national construction unemployment rate going back to the beginning of the series in 2000, surpassed only by the 8.6 percent rate in February 2006.

The March not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates for the country and 30 states were lower than in March 2015, according to analysis by economist Bernard Markstein released today by Associated Builders and Contractors. March’s 0.8 percent decrease from a year ago marked five and a half years of consecutive monthly year-over-year rate declines. Meanwhile, March national NSA employment in construction was 298,000 higher than in March 2015.

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 1—Construction employment rates improved in 44 states and the nation in April on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors. The not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rate of 6 percent was a 1.5 percent drop from April 2015, continuing a streak of consecutive monthly year-over-year rate declines that began in October 2010. National NSA employment in construction was 262,000 higher than in April 2015.

WASHINGTON, D.C., June, 28—Construction unemployment rates improved in 46 states and the nation in May on a year-over-year basis according to analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors. The May national not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rate of 5.2 percent was 1.5 percent lower than a year ago while the industry employed 213,000 more people than in May 2015.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug.1—June not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates improved in 47 states and the nation on a year-over-year basis according to analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The national construction unemployment rate of 4.6 percent was 1.7 percent lower than a year ago according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Further, the industry boasted its lowest June rate since 2000 when it matched this June’s 4.6 percent rate. BLS data also showed that the industry employed 229,000 more people than in June 2015.

Construction has always played a vital role in the nation’s economy despite some ups and downs. From 1999 through 2015, real (inflation-adjusted) construction investment (both residential and nonresidential) varied from 5.1 percent of real gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 and 2011 to 9.4 percent of GDP in 1999. In 2014 and 2015, construction investment was 6 percent of GDP.

Not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates improved in 43 states and the nation on a year-over-year basis in July according to analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The national NSA construction unemployment rate of 4.5 percent was 1 percent lower than a year ago according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Further, the industry boasted its lowest July rate since 2000 when July’s rate was 4.4 percent rate. BLS data also showed that the industry employed 209,000 more people than in July 2015.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 30—September not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates improved in 32 states and the nation on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The national NSA construction unemployment rate of 5.2 percent was 0.3 percent lower than a year ago, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 29—October not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates were down in 33 states and the nation on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The national NSA construction unemployment rate of 5.7 percent was down 0.5 percent from a year ago, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Construction material prices fell for the sixth consecutive month in December, losing 1.2 percent on a monthly basis and 4 percent on a yearly basis according to an analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Construction input prices have fallen 7.2 percent since peaking in August 2014, and have fallen in eleven of the previous sixteen months. Nonresidential construction input prices exhibited similar declines, falling 1.1 percent for the month and 4 percent for the year.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by just 0.7 percent (seasonally adjusted annual rate) during the fourth quarter of 2015, according to an analysis of the Bureau of Economic Analysis data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). This paltry growth follows a 2 percent increase during the year’s third quarter and a 3.9 percent increase during the second quarter. For the year, GDP expanded by 2.4 percent, matching the rate of growth seen in 2014.

WASHINGTON, D.C. Feb. 1—Nonresidential construction spending dipped for a second consecutive month, falling 0.4 percent on a monthly basis in December, according to analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Nonresidential construction spending totaled $681.2 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. November’s nonresidential construction spending estimate was revised lower by 0.6 percent to $683.7 billion. 

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 5—The U.S. construction industry’s unemployment rate rose to 8.5 percent in January, the highest level since March of 2015, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The unemployment rate across all industries shed a tenth of a percentage point and now sits at 4.9 percent, the lowest level since February of 2008.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 17—Construction input prices fell by 0.6 percent during January 2016 according to an analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index released today by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).  Construction input prices are down 2.7 percent from January 2015 and have now decreased on a year-over-year basis for 14 consecutive months.

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 15— Construction input prices fell for the eighth consecutive month during February 2016 according to an analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

Nonresidential construction spending dipped in February, falling 1.4 percent on a monthly basis according to analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Spending in the nonresidential sector totaled $690.3 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis in February. While this represents a step back from January’s figure of $700.3 billion (revised down from $701.9 billion), it is still 1.5 percent higher than the level of spending registered in December 2015 and 10.1 percent higher than February 2015.  

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 13-Construction input prices rose on a monthly basis in March for the first time in nine months according to an analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Producer Price Index released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Input prices expanded 0.9 percent on a monthly basis in March but are still down 3.4 percent on a year-over-year basis.

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 28— Real gross domestic product (GDP) expanded only 0.5 percent (seasonally adjusted annual rate) during 2016’s first quarter according to an analysis of Bureau of Economic Analysis data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). This disappointing figure follows a 1.4 percent annualized rate of economic output expansion during the fourth quarter of 2015.  

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 6- The U.S. construction industry added just 1,000 net new jobs in April according to an analysis of today’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) release by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Although industrywide job growth was marginal, the nonresidential construction sector added 6,600 net new jobs for the month. Revisions to the previous two months of construction data produced a net decrease of 3,000 jobs, with March’s construction employment estimate raised by 4,000 jobs but February’s downgraded by 7,000 positions.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 13—Construction input prices expanded on a monthly basis for the second consecutive month in April, increasing by 0.5 percent according to an analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Producer Price Index released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The two-month growth streak follows nine consecutive months during which construction input prices fell and construction input prices remain 2.9 percent below their April 2015 levels.

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 1- Nonresidential construction spending fell 2.1 percent in April according to analysis of  U.S. Census Bureau data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Nonresidential spending totaled $688.2 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate.

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 3—The U.S. construction industry lost 15,000 net jobs in May according to an analysis of today’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). This represents the industry’s worst month since December 2013, when payrolls also shrank by 15,000 jobs. Including April’s estimate, which was downwardly revised from 1,000 net new jobs to a loss of 5,000 net jobs, the industry has now lost jobs in two consecutive months for the first time in four years.

ABC construction economic releases are published according to this schedule in 2023

For media inquiries, please contact Erika Walter, ABC director of media relations, at [email protected].

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