Tag Archive for 'ABC'

ABC Forecast: Nonresidential Construction Rebounds During Slow Economic Recovery

ABC Forecast ABC Forecast2

ABC Reports: Tepid GDP Growth a Sign Construction Spending May Sputter; Decline Unlikely

ABC LogoReal 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 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.

Nonresidential fixed investment shrank by 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter, the first time the segment has contracted since the third quarter of 2012. For the year, nonresidential fixed investment expanded by 2.9 percent after growing by 6.2 percent in 2014 and 3 percent in 2013.

“The economy did not end the year well,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Today’s GDP data adds weight to the argument that the U.S. is in a corporate profits recession, an industrial recession, and was experiencing a softening of investments. With the exception of the residential building sector, business capital outlays have declined as corporations deal with a combination of sagging exports, competitive imports, declining energy related investments, rising wage pressures and healthcare costs.

“Recent turbulence in financial markets suggest that capital availability may continue to soften,” said Basu. “While residential construction is likely to continue to recover given the combination of low interest rates and accelerating household formation, nonresidential construction spending growth may begin to sputter a bit as those who deploy capital become more defensive. This is not to suggest that nonresidential construction spending is set to decline. Many contractors continue to report significant and growing backlog. However, the current situation suggests that the growth in backlog and ultimately in spending may not be quite as rapid as it was earlier in 2015.”

Six key input prices rose or remained unchanged in October on a monthly basis, while one remained unchanged:

  • Personal consumption expenditures expanded 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter after growing by 3 percent in the third quarter.
  • Spending on goods grew 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter after expanding 5 percent in the third quarter and 5.5 percent in the second quarter.
  • Real final sales of domestically produced output increased 1.2 percent for the fourth quarter after a 2.7 percent increase in the third quarter.
  • Federal government spending increased 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter, the segment’s largest increase since the third quarter of 2014.
  • Nondefense spending increased 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter after expanding 2.8 percent in the previous quarter.
  • National defense spending expanded by 3.6 percent in the fourth quarter after contracting by 1.4 percent during the third.

State and local government spending contracted by 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter after increasing by 2.8 percent in the third quarter.

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ABC Reports: Construction’s Percentage Job Gains Lead All Economic Sectors in Oct

CEU2“Specialty trade contractors created more than 21,000 jobs in October, leading to 0.7 percent growth for nonresidential construction employment on a monthly basis.”—ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

 

Employment_11.6.15The U.S. construction industry added more jobs in October than during the previous four months combined, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Construction employment expanded by 31,000 net new jobs last month after adding 12,000 jobs in September (revised upward from 8,000). Nonresidential construction employment increased by 20,100 jobs in October after adding 11,100 jobs in September (revised upward from 6,800).

“Over the past year, nonresidential construction employment has expanded by 113,100 jobs, or 3.9 percent, which is particularly impressive given the ongoing difficulties many contractors experience filling available job openings,” said Anirban Basu, ABC’s chief economist. “Despite the overall robust nonresidential employment gains, the nonresidential building sector actually lost 1,000 jobs in October, due in large measure to the impact of a slumping energy sector. However, specialty trade contractors created more than 21,000 jobs in October, leading to 0.7 percent growth for nonresidential construction employment on a monthly basis.

“The overall economy added 271,000 net new jobs in October, far above the consensus estimate of around 175,000,” said Basu. “The three-month average gain stands at 187,000 net new jobs. The nation’s unemployment rate is down to 5 percent, and the so-called real rate of unemployment stands at 9.8 percent, a multi-year low. Wages are up 2.5 percent on a year-over-year basis, the fastest pace of wage growth since 2009. All of this suggests that the chances for a Federal Reserve rate hike in December have expanded massively with today’s release.”

The residential construction sector added 6,000 jobs in October after adding 6,100 during the prior month, while employment in the civil and heavy engineering increased by 4,800 jobs. Overall construction employment increased by 0.48 percent for the month, more than any other industry. Employment growth in the professional/business services sector was second at 0.39 percent. The construction industry’s unemployment rate actually rose by 0.7 percentage points to 6.2 percent in October. This is very good news because it indicates that more people are again looking to construction as a source of gainful employment.

Construction employment for the month and the past year breaks down as follows:

  • Nonresidential building construction employment fell by 1,000 jobs in October but is up by 14,500 jobs or 2.1 percent on a yearly basis.
  • Residential building construction employment expanded by 2,400 jobs in October and is up by 25,100 jobs or 3.7 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 21,100 jobs for the month and employment in that category is up by 98,600 jobs or 4.5 percent from the same time one year ago.
  • Residential specialty trade contractors added 3,600 net new jobs in October and have added 74,000 jobs or 4.4 percent since October 2014.
  • The heavy and civil engineering construction segment added 4,800 jobs in October and is up by 20,700 positions or 2.2 percent on a year-over-year basis.

To view the previous employment report, click here.

ABC Celebrates Careers in Construction Month

1291931420843794287$1.1 Billion Invested in Workforce Development Annually

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is celebrating Careers in Construction Month this October by recognizing the investment its members and chapters make each year to attract and train the construction workers of the future. ABC member firms spend $1.1 billion on workforce development and train approximately 476,000 construction industry professionals annually.

“The construction industry continues to offer excellent career opportunities for millions of Americans, and we are very proud of the investment our members make in developing the workforce of the future,” said ABC Vice President of Environment, Health, Safety and Workforce Development Greg Sizemore. “Our industry has a well-documented shortage of skilled workers despite well-paying jobs, rising wages and entrepreneurial opportunity, and that’s a message our chapters, members and training partners are delivering to high schoolers, college students, adults whose jobs were lost to the recession and anyone else looking to make a smart career move.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that we will need 1.6 million new construction workers by 2022 due to growth in the industry combined with an aging workforce. Already more than four in five ABC members say they are facing a shortage of skilled labor.

“Construction is among the few industries someone can enter as an apprentice, get paid to learn career skills on the job, and then work their way up to owning their own business,” said Sizemore. “In fact, the opportunity to continue to grow within the industry was one of the biggest reasons a survey conducted earlier this year found construction professionals were happier than employees in any other industry. Careers in Construction Month is a great time to tell this story and highlight our members’ impressive investment in training.”

ABC is working to address the worker shortage through more than 800 apprenticeship, craft training and safety training programs set up by its chapters around the country. The Trimmer Construction Education Foundation, ABC’s nonprofit charitable organization, provides funding for the direct support of training programs and the expansion of training facilities around the country.

The association has also signed on to an industry pledge to hire 100,000 veterans—who already comprise 23 percent of the trade/craft workers employed by ABC members—in the construction workforce over the next five years, and it promotes the value of diversity and inclusion in the construction and subcontractor/supplier workforce. Additionally, ABC administers numerous competitions, awards programs and student outreach initiatives to promote life-long learning and recognize achievement at every level.

People interested in learning more about craft professions and construction management can visit buildyourfuture.org, an industry-supported website devoted to making career and technical education a priority in secondary schools; shifting perceptions about careers in the construction industry to reflect the wide range of professions available and providing a path from ambition to training to job placement in the construction industry.

Construction Material Prices Plunge in September

CEU2” Demand for global commodities has weakened even as supply of many inputs continues to be elevated.” —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu

PPI_Sep15Prices for inputs to construction industries plunged 1.6 percent in September after shedding 0.9 percent in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Year-over-year prices were down 5.3 percent for the month, the largest yearly decrease since October of 2009. Inputs to nonresidential construction prices also declined, losing 1.6 percent for the month and 6 percent for the year. Only three of the 11 key input prices expanded on a monthly basis in September, while six experienced double-digit year-over-year declines, according to analysis by Associated Builders and Contractors.

“The global economy has continued to soften in recent weeks, with additional concerns directed at formerly fast-growing nations like China, Brazil and Russia,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Europe continues to muddle along and the Canadian economy remains relatively flat. All of this has conspired to weaken demand for global commodities even as supply of many inputs continues to be elevated.

“For much of September, there was a belief among some that the Federal Reserve would raise short-term interest rates during that month,” said Basu. “That belief helped keep the dollar strong, which also helped to keep commodity prices low. When the Fed made the decision not to raise rates, the dollar weakened a bit, allowing oil prices to edge higher. The implication is that October PPI is unlikely to be as deflationary as September.”

Only three key input prices rose in September:

  • Plumbing fixtures and fittings expanded 0.1 percent from August and are up 1.1 percent from September 2014.
  • Prices for concrete products expanded 0.7 percent in September and are up 3 percent from the same time last year.
  • Crude petroleum prices expanded 2.3 percent in September but are down 54.3 percent from the same time last year.

The key input prices that fell or remained flat are:

  • Crude energy materials prices dipped 1 percent in September and are down 39.9 percent from the same time last year.
  • Fabricated structural metal product prices fell 0.l percent for the month and are down 0.6 percent on the year.
  • Iron and steel prices fell 1.1 percent for the month and 18.8 percent for the year.
  • Prices for steel mill products fell 0.8 percent from last month and 14.9 percent from last year.
  • Nonferrous wire and cable prices are down 0.8 percent in September and 7.8 percent from the same time last year.
  • Softwood lumber prices fell 3.8 percent on a monthly basis and 12.2 percent on a yearly basis.
  • Prepared asphalt, tar roofing and siding declined 1.9 percent for the month but expanded 2.5 percent from the same time last year.
  • Natural gas prices fell 7.5 percent on a monthly basis and are down 35.8 percent from the same time last year.

To view the previous PPI report, click here.