Politics and Policy
The not seasonally adjusted (NSA) national construction unemployment rate was 5 percent in November, down 0.7 percent from a year ago and the lowest November rate on record, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The construction industry employed 191,000 more workers than in November 2016.
In its survey of Florida construction firms for the third quarter of 2017, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) finds the confidence to fill open positions over the next six months remains low. Continued hurricane rebuilding efforts will likely exacerbate the challenge to find enough skilled labor in Florida to meet the level of project demand. Confidence in other areas of the survey remains high.
Nonresidential construction spending grew 0.4 percent on a monthly basis in Dec. 2014, according to the Feb. 2 release from the U.S. Census Bureau. Spending for the month totaled $627.1 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis, 5.9 percent higher than Dec. 2013. The government also upwardly revised November’s spending estimate from $617 billion to $624.8 billion and October’s figure from $623 billion to $627.4 billion. “Despite the slight expansion indicated in today’s report, nonresidential construction lost some of its momentum during the final two months of 2014; however, this should represent only a minor dip in the indu
In his 2015 economic forecast released Dec. 9, ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu relayed his forecast for a steady recovery among the U.S. commercial and industrial construction industries in 2015, continuing the momentum built in 2014.
ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator (CBI) reached an all-time high in the second quarter of 2014, according to a report issued Aug. 19. After falling 2.8 percent in the first quarter, second quarter CBI improved 5.4 percent to reach 8.5 months. In addition, there were gains in every industry segment, in nearly all geographic regions and for firms of almost all sizes. ABC’s chief economist expects that trend to continue.
According to recent economic indicators and the predictions of three industry economists, the construction industry can be optimistic about its future. In particular, ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu expects nonresidential construction to achieve 7 percent nominal growth in 2014, despite ongoing challenges in the public construction segment.
Overall construction materials prices increased 0.4 percent in April and are up 1.5 percent year over year, according to the May 14 Producer Price Index released by the U.S. Department of Labor. Nonresidential construction material prices were up 0.5 percent for the month and are 1.4 percent higher than the same time last year.
Nonresidential fixed investment decreased 2.1 percent and residential fixed investment fell 5.7 percent during the first quarter, according to an April 30 release by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Overall, real gross domestic product (GDP) expanded just 0.1 percent (seasonally adjusted annual rate) during the first quarter of 2014 following a 2.6 percent increase in the fourth quarter of last year.
An economic study organized by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Alabama chapter found commercial construction’seconomic impact exceeds $9.6 billion, making it the largest industry in the state.
Economists from ABC, American Institute of Architects and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) gave their perspectives June 17 about where the construction economy is headed during an online news conference. As a whole, things are improving, but recovery will continue to be slow unless more jobs are created.