Archive for the 'National' Category

DEWALT® Introduces New 4-in-1 Multi Functional Utility Bar

e8c7b192e4b0e5d3514471ab_1280x196DEWALT® introduces the new Multi-Functional Utility (MFU) Bar eliminating the need for multiple tools on the jobsite. Available in two sizes, the DEWALT® 30” and 40” MFU Bar is ideal for ripping, striking, prying, and scraping applications for renovators, deck builders, and contractors alike.

The MFU Bar features a hardened striking surface manufactured with 7/8” tri-lobe stock for durability, a gooseneck head for board grabbing, and an extra-wide pry end designed with precision ground edges.  While the MFU Bar can be used for prying applications, it also makes adjusting boards in the floor or a wall a simple task by providing a pivot leverage point, giving the user a mechanical advantage. The angled foot at the bottom of the MFU Bar also offers leverage while scraping or lifting during the demolition process. The nail puller located at the bottom of the bar helps remove stubborn nails with ease.


The 30” DEWALT® Multi-Functional Utility Bar – model DWHT55292 – retails for approximately $24.98 and the 40” DEWALT® Multi-Functional Utility Bar – model DWHT55293 – retails for approximately $29.98.


DEWALT is a leading manufacturer of industrial corded and cordless power tools, power tool accessories, and hand tools in categories that include Woodworking, Drilling & Fastening, Concrete & Metal Power Tools, as well as Cutting, Abrasive, and IMPACT READY® Impact Driver Power Tool Accessories. Hand Tool categories include Measuring & Layout, Knives & Blades, Mechanics Tools, and Storage Solutions.

With seven manufacturing locations in the USA, DEWALT remains committed to domestic manufacturing and produced approximately 62 million individual units of Power Tools, Hand Tools, and Accessories in the United States with global materials in 2015 alone.

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Wells Fargo Reports: Existing Home Sales Gain in March

Wells_Fargo_Securities_logoOn the heels of a modest decline in February, existing home sales posted a 5.1 percent pickup in March. Inventory levels continue to report slight gains, which may help provide a lift to sales this spring.

Good First Quarter in the Books

  • Existing home sales rose 5.1 percent in March to a 5.33 million- unit rate, recouping the majority of February’s loss. While the month-to-month data tend to be more volatile, on a year-to- date basis, existing home sales are running 5.6 percent above their year-ago level.
  • The pickup in sales was led by large gains in the Northeast and Midwest, which rose 11.1 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively.

Even With Recent Gains, Inventory Remains Lean

  • The months’ supply of existing homes increased for the third consecutive month to 4.5 months and total inventory of existing homes available for sale rose 5.9 percent to 1.98 million units. While the pickup is encouraging, supply levels remain lean.
  • We look for existing home sales to rise roughly 4 percent by year- end 2016, as low mortgage rates and strengthening employment conditions are likely to support sales in the coming quarters.

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Wells Fargo Reports: Housing Starts Pull Back in March

Wells_Fargo_Securities_logoHousing starts tumbled 8.8 percent in March to a 1.09 million-unit rate, led by a 9.2 percent decline in single- family starts. Building permits also slipped on the month and are now running in line with the pace of starts.
Homebuilding Slows in March
• On the heels of February’s unseasonably large 6.9 percent gain, • housing starts fell 8.8 percent in March to a 1.09 million-unit pace. Weakness was broad based as both single and multifamily starts reported declines. Permits also slipped on the month, falling in line with the pace of starts.
• Despite the dip in building activity, on a year-to-date basis, single-family starts are up 22.2 percent.
Completions on the Rise
• The supply of new homes coming to the market has improved, as the number of homes completed and under construction both reported gains in March. This strengthening trend bodes well for new home sales, which have been held back by tight inventories.
• The housing market seems relatively well positioned heading into the spring home buying season. We expect housing starts to gain momentum in the year ahead, and cap 2016 up 11 percent.

Housing Starts Pull Back in March Housing Starts Pull Back in March Housing Starts Pull Back in March Housing Starts Pull Back in March

ABC Reports: Nonresidential Spending Slip in February No Cause for Alarm

NRNonresidential 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.

“February’s weather was particularly harsh in certain parts of the country, including in the economic activity-rich Mid-Atlantic region, and that appears to have had an undue effect on construction spending data,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.  “February data are always difficult to interpret, and the latest nonresidential construction spending figures are no different. Seasonal factors have also made state-level data very difficult to interpret.

“Beyond meteorological considerations, there are other reasons not to be alarmed by February’s decline in nonresidential construction spending,” said Basu. ”Today’s positive construction employment report indicates continued economic growth. Moreover, much of the decline in volume was attributable to manufacturing, but the ISM manufacturing index recently crossed the threshold 50 level, indicating that domestic manufacturing is now expanding for the first time in seven months.”

Eight of the sixteen nonresidential subsectors experienced spending decreases in February, though almost half of the total decline in spending is attributable to the 5.9 percent decline in manufacturing-related spending.

The following 16 nonresidential construction sectors experienced spending increases in February on a monthly basis:

  • Spending in the amusement and recreation category climbed 0.4 percent from January and is up 13.7 percent from February 2015.
  • Lodging-related spending is up 0.4 percent for the month and is up 30.1 percent on a year-ago basis.
  • Water supply-related spending expanded 1.9 percent on a monthly basis and 3.2 percent on a yearly basis.
  • Spending in the office category grew 3.8 percent from January and is up 25.3 percent on a year-ago basis.
  • Transportation-related spending expanded 0.5 percent month-over-month and 5.8 percent year-over-year.
  • Health care-related spending expanded 2 percent from January and is up 3.3 percent from February 2015.
  • Public safety-related spending is up 1.8 percent for the month, but is down 5.3 percent for the year.
  • Commercial-related construction spending inched 0.1 percent higher for the month and grew 11 percent for the year.

Spending in eight of the nonresidential construction subsectors fell in February on a monthly basis:

  • Educational-related construction spending fell 2.4 percent from January, but has expanded 8.5 percent on a yearly basis.
  • Communication-related spending fell 15 percent month-over-month, but expanded 11.8 percent year-over-year.
  • Spending in the highway and street category fell 2 percent from January, but is 24.5 higher than one year ago.
  • Sewage and waste disposal-related spending fell 2.4 percent for the month, but is up 2.3 percent for the year.
  • Conservation and development-related spending is 4.6 percent lower on a monthly basis and 16.8 percent lower on a year-over-year basis.
  • Spending in the religious category fell 4 percent for the month and is up just 0.7 percent for the year.
  • Manufacturing-related spending fell 5.9 percent on a monthly basis and is up only 0.8 percent on a yearly basis.

Spending in the power category fell 0.6 percent from January, but is 4.8 percent higher than one year ago.


ABC Reports: February Construction Unemployment Rates Improve in 41 States from 2015

NRAnalysis by Bernard Markstein, Ph.D.

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 NSA construction unemployment rates for the country and 41 states were lower than in February 2015. February’s 1.9 percent year-over-year improvement continues the streak of year-over-year NSA construction unemployment rate declines dating back to October 2010. On a year-over-year basis, February national NSA employment in construction increased by 253,000.

Note that the NSA unemployment rates have a seasonal pattern with the national NSA construction unemployment rate often increasing from January to February. However, 22 states posted a decrease in their rate from January and two states (Florida and Kansas) had no change in their rate.

View states ranked by their construction unemployment rate.

View states ranked by their year-over-year improvement in construction employment.

The Top Five States

The five states with the lowest construction unemployment rates in February in order from lowest rate to highest were:

  1.  Georgia
  2.  Colorado
  3.  Hawaii*
  4.  Virginia
  5.  Texas

* Unemployment rate is for construction, mining, and logging combined

Four states—Colorado, Georgia, Texas and Virginia—were also among the top five in January. Georgia, with a 4.8 percent estimated construction unemployment rate in February, had the lowest rate for the third consecutive month.

Colorado and Hawaii came in a close second with a 4.9 percent construction unemployment rate. Posting a one percent decline in its construction unemployment rate from January, Colorado improved from third lowest that month. Hawaii also experienced a drop in its rate from January—down 1.5 percent, the third largest monthly decline among the states. That moved Hawaii up from the sixth lowest rate in January, tied with North Carolina. Hawaii also had the second largest year-over-year drop in its rate, down 4.5 percent.

Virginia saw a reduction in its construction unemployment rate in January from 6.1 percent rate (based on revised data) to 5.3 percent in February. That left the state with the fourth lowest rate for the second month in a row.

Texas slid from second lowest in January to fifth lowest in February with a 5.7 percent construction unemployment rate. South Carolina, which had the fifth lowest rate in January, fell to seventh lowest, tied with Arizona with a 6.8 percent rate.

The Bottom Five States

The five states with the highest construction unemployment rates (from lowest to highest) were:

  1.  North Dakota
  2.  Wyoming
  3.  Rhode Island
  4.  West Virginia
  5.  Alaska

The five states with the highest estimated construction unemployment rates in February were the same as in January although some of the rankings changed.

As would be expected given that these are NSA rates, Alaska with an 18 percent rate in February had the highest rate for the sixth consecutive month. February’s rate was down 1.9 percent from Alaska’s January rate of 19.9 percent (based on revised data). A reduction in the February rate from January is somewhat common for Alaska, which has experienced a decline in ten of the previous 14 years.

West Virginia, with a 17.2 percent construction unemployment rate, had the second highest rate. In January, the state had the third highest rate based on revised data (previously reported as the second highest rate).

Rhode Island had the third highest February construction unemployment rate (15.7 percent). In January, the state had the fifth highest rate based on revised data (previously reported as tied with Illinois for fourth highest). The state had the largest year-over-year decline among the states in February (down 5.2 percent). The state has experienced improved construction activity for a number of months. As a result, the construction unemployment rate has fallen on a year-over-year basis each month starting in October 2014.

Wyoming had the fourth highest estimated construction unemployment rate for the second month in a row (15.4 percent). Its January ranking is based on revised data, previously reported with the sixth highest rate. No doubt reflecting the effects of the downturn in commodity prices in general and energy in particular, Wyoming had the largest year-over-year increase in its rate, up 5.5 percent.

North Dakota, another state suffering from the effects of the downturn in energy prices, posted the fifth highest construction unemployment rate in February, 14.9 percent rate. For the month, the state had both the second highest year-over-year increase (up 3.4 percent) and the second largest monthly decrease (down 1.7 percent). The monthly reduction in the state’s February construction unemployment rate has been the norm for North Dakota going back to 2001. Over most of this period, this was due to increased construction activity and, consequently, increased employment. This time, it is likely due to unemployed construction workers leaving the state for better prospects elsewhere.

Read more on ABC’s website.


Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) launched its state-by-state economic analysis in 2015 with the release of economist Bernard M. Markstein’s analysis of construction’s contribution to each state’s gross domestic product (GDP). Unique to ABC, Markstein’s monthly state-level construction unemployment rate estimate and analysis of state-level construction job markets is produced in addition to ABC’s existing national economic data and analysis.

Background on how the data was derived and Markstein’s methodology is available on ABC’s website. Markstein is also available for an interview to provide further analysis.