Tag Archive for 'economy'

ABC Reports: Construction Materials Prices Up 0.5 Percent in March

CEU2“Despite the increase in materials prices, this report does not signal a period of much higher inflation.” —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

PPI_4 11 14Construction materials prices expanded 0.5 percent in March and are up 1.1 percent from March of last year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s April 11 producer price index release. Nonresidential construction materials prices are up 0.4 percent for the month and are 1 percent higher than the same time one year ago.

“Despite the increase in materials prices, this report does not signal a period of much higher inflation,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While it is true that there were significant increases in overall monthly inflation for both the broader economy and for construction, only a handful of categories were actually associated with a meaningful uptick in prices.”

Overall, the nation’s wholesale goods prices fell 0.1 percent in March but are up 1.7 percent year over year. Crude energy materials prices fell 6.8 percent in March but are still 13.6 percent higher than one year ago, and have expanded by 34.1 percent through the first three months of 2014.

“With respect to the broader economy, much of the inflation was related to food, which likely is a result of meteorological impacts,” said Basu. “With respect to construction, only three of 11 categories actually experienced increasing prices for the month. Given modest projections for both global and national economic growth, it is unlikely that significant inflationary pressures will be experienced during the month ahead with respect to most construction materials prices.”

The following materials prices increased in March.

Nonferrous wire and cable prices gained 0.1 percent in March but are down 2.7 percent from one year ago.

Concrete products prices expanded 0.3 percent in March and are up 3.9 percent from one year ago.

Prices for prepared asphalt, tar roofing, and siding expanded by 1.1 percent for the month and are up 0.1 percent from one year ago.

Eight of the 11 key construction inputs did not experience price increases for the month.

Iron and steel prices fell 1.7 percent in March but are up 1.3 percent from the same time last year.

Natural gas prices fell 10.9 percent in March but are 48.5 percent higher than one year ago.

Crude energy prices fell 6.8 percent in March but are 13.6 percent higher than one year ago.

Steel mill products prices shed 1.1 percent for the month but are 1.4 percent higher than one year ago.

Crude petroleum prices fell 6.4 percent in March but are up 3.9 percent from March 2013.

Prices for plumbing fixtures shed 0.8 percent for the month but are up 1.9 percent from the same time last year.

Fabricated structural metal product prices are down 0.2 percent for the month but have risen 0.5 percent from one year ago.

Softwood lumber prices fell 0.8 percent in March and are 2.1 percent lower than one year ago.

To view the previous PPI report, click HERE

ABC Reports: Jobs Report Meets Expectations In March

CEU2“The 6,700 nonresidential construction jobs added in March demonstrate the growth we expect in the second quarter of 2014.” —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

Employment_4 4The U.S. construction industry gained 19,000 jobs in March and the construction unemployment rate fell to 11.3 percent (non-seasonally adjusted), according to the April 4 employment report by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Nonresidential construction segments added 6,700 jobs in March, a marked improvement from the 2,800 jobs (revised) added in February. The improvement led the construction unemployment rate to fall from 12.8 percent in February 2014 and 14.7 percent in March 2013.

The residential sector continued to build momentum, adding 9,100 jobs for the month. Heavy and civil engineering added 3,200 jobs in March and has added 22,100 jobs in the past 12 months.

“The 6,700 nonresidential construction jobs added in March demonstrate the growth we expect in the second quarter of 2014,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “The colder than normal winter has been particularly cruel to the construction industry, and its departure should bring accelerated job growth.

“While it is promising to see the construction unemployment rate shed more than a full percent in March, it remains well above pre-recession levels,” said Basu. “As spring finally settles in, the construction unemployment rate should return to the levels experienced in the third and fourth quarters of 2013 (approximately 9 percent).”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ household survey, the national unemployment rate remained unchanged in March at 6.7 percent as the country added a total of 192,000 jobs. January and February’s jobs reports also were revised upward by a combined 37,000 jobs.

“Although the unemployment rate remained unchanged in March, the labor force (those either employed or seeking employment) increased by 1.5 million in the first quarter of 2014 after falling by 500,000 in 2013,” said Basu. “Gains to the labor force will, at least in the short term, apply upward pressure on the unemployment rate. That said, given the number of jobs created, upward revisions to prior months and expansion of the average workweek, today’s jobs report should not be viewed as disappointing.”

Nonresidential building construction employment grew by 2,200 jobs for the month and is up by 14,000 jobs (2.1 percent) since March 2013.

Residential building construction employment rose by 3,100 jobs in March and is up by 547,800 jobs (7.9 percent) since March 2013.

Nonresidential specialty trade contractors gained 4,500 jobs for the month and employment in that category is up by 12,700 jobs (0.6 percent) compared to the same time last year.

Residential specialty trade contractors gained 6,000 jobs in March and have added 55,200 jobs (3.6 percent) since March 2013.

The heavy and civil engineering construction segment gained 3,200 jobs in March and job totals are up by 22,100 (2.5 percent) compared to the same time last year.

To view the previous Employment report, click here

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

ARTBA Launches “Transportation Investment Advocate Center” To Help Move State & Local Campaigns

image001The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) recently announced the start-up of the “Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™” (TIAC), a first-of-its kind, dynamic education program and internet-based information resource.  The program is aimed at helping private citizens, legislators, organizations and businesses successfully grow transportation infrastructure resources at the state and local levels through the legislative and ballot initiative processes.

The cornerstone of the new program is the website, www.transportationinvestment.org.  ARTBA Chairman Doug Black says the site has been structured “so those interested in making action happen do not have to ‘re-invent the wheel’ to mount successful campaigns.” The idea, he said, is “to put in one place—and promote the sharing of—current strategies, sample political and communications tools, legislative and ballot initiative language, and information on where to obtain professional campaign advice, research and help.”

image003The transportationinvestment.org site features 39 detailed case studies of recent transportation funding campaigns—both successful and unsuccessful—mounted in 28 states.  It includes the actual television, radio and print ads, polling data, and media and coalition strategies used in the campaigns.  The site features a blog, which will be updated regularly with new developments and economic-based research and messaging developed by ARTBA to help frame the political debate.  An overview of funding and financing mechanisms utilized to support state and local transportation programs is also included.

Complementing the dynamic website site, the TIAC program includes an annual workshop to be held in Washington, D.C., and ongoing webinars for transportation investment advocates featuring case studies, best practices, and the latest in political and media strategies.

The inaugural “National Workshop for State & Local Transportation Advocates™” will be held July 16 at the Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill.  The workshop will be marketed to state and local chamber of commerce executives, state legislators, state and local transportation officials, “Better Roads & Transportation” group members, industry and labor executives, and leaders of state and local chapters of national organizations with an interest in transportation development programs.

The Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ is a project of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s “Transportation Makes America Work!” (TMAW) program and funded through voluntary contributions and sponsorships. To become a sponsor or to make a contribution, contact TIAC staff directly through the website.

Established in 1902, ARTBA represents the U.S. transportation design and construction industry in the Nation’s Capital.

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