Tag Archive for 'ABC'

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ABC Reports:Nonresidential Construction Spending Inches Higher

CEU2“The conventional wisdom is that this year’s winter weather has suppressed spending and that will make the spring recovery even stronger than it would have been, as pent up supply is released.” —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

spending_4 1The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that nonresidential construction spending increased 0.6 percent in February and has risen 6.1 percent since February 2013. The gains follow nonresidential construction spending declines in both January and December. Spending for the month totaled $580.5 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis.

“February’s construction spending data is difficult to interpret, as was the case in December and January, because of the lengthy and harsh winter,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “The conventional wisdom is that this year’s winter weather has suppressed spending and that will make the spring recovery even stronger than it would have been, as pent up supply is released. However, the level of recovery in construction spending has not been enough to significantly improve pricing power and profit margins.

“In addition, based on ABC’s analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), skills shortages impacting construction are becoming more commonplace, which also will place downward pressure on margins,” Basu said.

Spending rose in eight of the 16 nonresidential construction subsectors in February:

Communication construction spending increased 7.2 percent in February and is up 52 percent from the same time last year.

Highway and street-related construction spending expanded 1.3 percent in February and is up 11.4 percent compared to the same time last year.

Amusement and recreation-related construction spending increased 1.7 percent in February and is up 3.1 percent from the same time last year.

Lodging construction spending rose 2.9 percent in February and is 37 percent higher than the same time last year.

Health care-related construction spending increased 0.4 percent but is down 4.3 percent from the same time last year.

Office-related construction spending expanded 0.2 percent in February and is 12.9 percent higher than the same time last year.

Conservation and development-related construction spending rose 5.3 percent in February and is up 3.1 percent from the same time last year.

Power construction spending increased 4.7 percent for the month and is 11.4 percent higher than the same time last year.

Spending in eight nonresidential construction subsectors decreased in February:

Religious spending fell 7.3 percent for the month and is down 22.6 percent from the same time last year.

Education-related construction spending fell 1.1 percent for the month and is 22.6 percent lower than the same time last year.

Commercial construction spending fell 0.3 percent in February but is up 12.4 percent compared to the same time last year.

Public safety-related construction spending fell 7 percent in February and has declined 10.5 percent since the same time last year.

Sewage and waste disposal-related construction spending declined 1.9 percent for the month and is 5 percent lower than the same time last year.

Construction spending in the transportation category fell 1.2 percent in February but has increased 5.1 percent since the same time last year.

Spending in the water supply category was down 10 percent on the month and is 18.1 percent lower compared to the same time last year.

Manufacturing-related construction spending decreased 0.1 percent in February but is up 16.7 from the same time last year.

To view the previous spending report, click here

ABC Reports: Construction Materials Prices Expand Again in February

CEU2“February marks the second consecutive month in which construction materials prices expanded briskly.” —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

PPI_3 14 14Construction materials prices expanded 0.7 percent in February and are up 0.6 percent over the past year, according to the March 14 producer price index release by the Department of Labor. More specifically, nonresidential construction materials prices are up 0.7 percent for the month and are 0.4 percent higher than the same time one year ago.

“February marks the second consecutive month in which construction materials prices expanded briskly,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Construction materials prices experienced a remarkable lack of volatility during the last three quarters of 2013; however, that trend appears to be firmly behind us.”

Overall, the nation’s wholesale goods prices expanded 0.4 percent in February and are up 1.3 percent from February 2013. Crude energy materials prices and natural gas prices led the way, expanding 14.7 percent and 31.5 percent respectively in February. February marked the crude energy segment’s largest monthly growth since January 2004.

“The harsh winter is to blame for the spike in energy segment prices,” said Basu. “In fact, crude petroleum and natural gas both experienced historic price growth in February. We are certain that February’s data reflects the colder-than-normal winter; however, it is difficult to say if increased demand had any part in the month’s price growth. With the frigid weather continuing through early March, it may be awhile before we know this winter’s true impact.

“Another factor has been a tidal wave of economic news from China, much of which suggests that China’s economy is slowing faster than expected,” said Basu. “That could cause prices to dip during future months. In any case, greater price volatility should be anticipated.”

The prices of the following materials increased in February.

Natural gas prices expanded 31.5 percent in February and are 74 percent higher than one year ago.

Crude energy prices grew 14.7 percent in February and are 18.1 percent higher than one year ago.

Concrete products prices grew 0.9 percent in February and are 3.7 percent higher than one year ago.

Steel mill products prices expanded 0.7 percent for the month and are 1.9 percent higher than one year ago.

Prices for prepared asphalt, tar roofing, and siding expanded by 1.4 percent for the month but are down 0.4 percent from one year ago.

Crude petroleum prices grew 10.6 percent in February and are 3.4 percent higher than one year ago.

Prices for plumbing fixtures expanded 1.5 percent for the month and are 3.1 percent higher than one year ago.

Fabricated structural metal product prices are up 0.1 percent and are 0.4 percent higher than one year ago.

Softwood lumber prices gained 0.5 percent and are 1.2 percent higher than one year ago.

Only two key construction inputs did not experience price increases for the month.

Nonferrous wire and cable prices shed 0.4 percent on a monthly basis and are down 4.3 percent from one year ago.

Iron and steel prices fell 0.4 percent in February but are up 4.3 percent from one year ago.

To view the previous PPI report, click HERE

ABC Reports: Nonresidential Construction Gains A Handful Of Jobs In February

CEU2“The 400 jobs added in February is more in line with what would be expected given economic and atmospheric forces.” —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

employment_3 7The U.S. nonresidential construction industry gained just 400 jobs in February, according to the March 7 employment report by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The construction industry as a whole added only 15,000 jobs for the month, with the vast majority of new jobs coming from residential construction. The construction unemployment rate expanded to 12.8 percent in February from 12.3 percent in January (non-seasonally adjusted).

The underwhelming jobs number is particularly disappointing given the encouraging 26,600 jobs (revised) the segment added in January. The number would have been more dismal if not for the heavy and civil engineering segment, which added 12,300 jobs in February.

“Compared to January’s surprising gain of 26,600 jobs, the 400 jobs added in February is more in line with what would be expected given economic and atmospheric forces,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “It remains likely that nonresidential construction employment gains will snap back with the weather during the second quarter of 2014.”

According to the BLS household survey, the national unemployment rate expanded by 0.1 percent in February, rising to 6.7 percent. Perhaps most importantly, there was evidence of accelerated wage gains among production workers—something that will increasingly impact construction firms’ profitability during the ensuing months of 2014.

The heavy and civil engineering construction segment gained 12,300 jobs in February and job totals are up by 12,100 (1.4 percent) annually.

Nonresidential specialty trade contractors gained 3,700 jobs for the month; employment in that category is up by 25,200 jobs (1.2 percent) annually.

Residential building construction employment rose by 3,400 jobs in February and is up by 50,000 jobs (8.3 percent) annually.

Residential specialty trade contractors lost 1,700 jobs in February but have added 51,200 jobs (3.4 percent) annually.

Nonresidential building construction employment fell by 3,300 jobs for the month, but is up by 13,300 jobs (2 percent) annually.

To view the previous Employment report, click here

Associated Builders and Contractors Names Interstates Companies Contractor of the Year

image004Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today announced that Interstates Companies is its 2013 Contractor of the Year. Interstates Companies Chairman and CEO Larry Den Herder accepted the award on behalf of the company Feb. 11 during ABC’s 24th annual Excellence in Construction Awards ceremony in Maui, Hawaii.

“Each year, ABC recognizes an individual or company that attains a level of achievement that raises the bar for all of us,” said 2014 ABC National Chairman Dan Brodbeck, president and CEO of Compass Partners, LLC. “Interstates’ commitment to safety and excellence on all levels helps to advance our organization, the construction industry and the merit shop philosophy.”

Marking its 60th year of business in 2013, Interstates began as a small electrical company in 1953 that was founded on the core values of dependability, integrity, trust, quality and family. Today, the company boasts 600 employees and delivers $100 million of work annually in design-build electrical solutions. In addition to electrical construction, Interstates offers electrical engineering, control systems and instrumentation services.

Interstates first became an ABC member in 1975 and currently is a member of ABC’s Iowa, Rocky Mountain and Cornhusker chapters.

ABC Joins Construction Industry’s Pledge to Hire Vets

image001Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Feb. 10 joined construction industry leaders from more than 100 companies in support of their pledge to employ 150,000 veterans in the next five years—a commitment that was made during the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Veterans’ Employment in Construction National Symposium.

“ABC believes in supporting our troops by providing them with the employment opportunities available in the construction industry,” said ABC 2014 National Chairman and President and CEO of Compass Partners, LLC Dan Brodbeck. “With a projected nationwide shortage of nearly two million workers, ABC is committed to filling this skills gap, starting with our veterans.”

The construction industry is anticipated to gain roughly 1.6 million new jobs by 2022 while facing a lack of experienced laborers and the retirement of an estimated one-sixth of the current construction workforce. The pledge to hire more veterans in construction not only reflects the patriotism seen throughout the industry but addresses the skills gap seen throughout the country.

First Lady Michelle Obama and DOL Secretary Thomas Perez announced the pledge as a part of an initiative to address the challenges and opportunities America’s service members and veterans face when transitioning back into civilian employment.