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September employment hits highest level since 2008; August spending slidesEditor’s note: Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.Nonfarm payroll employment in September increased by 156,000, seasonally adjusted, from August and by 2,447,000 (1.7%) year-over-year (y/y), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today. The unemployment rate (5.0%) inched up from 4.9% in August, as the number of jobseekers increased more than hiring. Construction employment (6,669,000) increased by 23,000 from the upwardly revised August total to the highest level since December 2008. Over the past 12 months, industry employment rose by 218,000 or 3.4%, twice as fast as total nonfarm employment. Residential construction employment (residential building and specialty trade contractors) rose by 15,700 for the month and 146,000 (5.9%) y/y.   
October 11, 2016
Number of metros with job gains hits three-year low; nonresidential starts rise sharplyEditor’s note: Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.Construction employment, not seasonally adjusted, increased from August 2015 to August 2016 in 220 (61%) of the 358 metro areas (including divisions of larger metros) for which BLS provides construction employment data, decreased in 76 (21%) and was stagnant in 62, according to an AGC release and map on Wednesday. (BLS combines mining and logging with construction in most metros.) The number of metros with increases was the smallest since April 2013 but the number with decreases was similar to other months; this could suggest contractors in some metros are unable to find the workers with requisite skills. The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area again added the most (11,400 combined jobs, 12%), followed by the Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. division (10,200 construction jobs, 11%) and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (10,200 construction jobs, 17%) and the %).   
October 04, 2016
Fewer states show job gains; AIA survey suggests worker shortages may be the reasonEditor’s note: Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.Seasonally adjusted construction employment rose in 36 states from August 2015 to August 2016, declined in 13 states and the District of Columbia, and was unchanged in Nebraska, an AGC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released on Tuesday showed. The number of states with increases was the smallest since April 2013, which may indicate either a slowing in construction activity or contractors having greater difficulty in finding acceptable workers. The highest percentage gains again occurred in Iowa (19%, 14,400 jobs) and Hawaii (12%, 4,300), followed by Colorado (11%, 16,800) and Idaho (9.2%, 3,500). Iowa and Massachusetts set new records. The top four states in number of jobs added were again California (29,300 jobs, 4.0%), Florida (22,000, 5.1%), Colorado and Iowa. Kansas lost the highest percentage and number of construction jobs (-7.7%, -4,700), followed in percentage decline by Montana (-7.2%, -1,900), North Dakota (-6.5%, -2,200) and Wyoming (-5.7%, -1,300). Alabama lost the second-largest number of construction jobs (-3,500, -4.3%), followed by North Dakota, Montana and Kentucky (-1,900, -2.5%). From July to August, seasonally adjusted construction employment increased in 24 states, shrank in 25 states and D.C., and was unchanged in Montana.   
September 26, 2016
PPI for new buildings moderate; hiring plans diverge; income properties remain healthyEditor’s note:  Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.Signs of a slowdown in construction activity are accumulating but not conclusive. Construction spending and employment have been flat or generally decreasing since March, but remain above year-ago levels. Producer price indexes (PPIs) for new building construction are rising more slowly than in the past several years, suggesting reduced pricing power by contractors. Contractors' hiring plans for next quarter vary by region from "a slight decline" to "moderately stronger."   
September 21, 2016
Job openings rise in July; Dodge sees more projects ahead; surveys vary on cost trendsEditor’s note:  Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC Americato bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.There were 214,000 construction industryjob openings, seasonally adjusted, at the end of July, BLS reported on Wednesday in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). Openings amounted to 3.1% of combined employment plus openings. Both figures were the highest for July since 2006. In contrast, the 334,000 hires in July, seasonally adjusted, and the hiring rate (5.0% of monthly employment) were in line with monthly levels over the past eight years. Together, the near-record openings and trendless hiring pattern are consistent with the results of a survey AGC released on August 31 in which 69% of the 1,459 responding contractors reported difficulty filling craft positions. The number and rate of layoffs and discharges in August, seasonally adjusted, are near the lowest levels in the 16-year history of the JOLTS data, suggesting contractors are trying to hold onto workers, a possible indication that they have a backlog of projects to complete.  
September 14, 2016
Contractors again report difficulty filling jobs; employment, spending rise less steadilyEditor’s note:  Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.Filling craft positions and some salaried positions remains a challenge for contractors, according to participants in AGC's 2016 Workforce Survey, though slightly less so than in 2015. More than two-thirds (69%) of the 1,459 respondents stated they were having a hard time filling some hourly craft positions, AGC reported on August 31. In addition, 38% said they were having a hard time filling some salaried field positions; 33%, salaried office positions; and 15%, hourly office positions, while 8% reported no trouble filling any positions and 9% had no openings to fill.  
September 09, 2016
39 states add construction jobs in latest 12 months; reports on July starts divergeEditor’s note: Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.Seasonally adjusted construction employment rose in 39 states from July 2015 to July 2016, declined in 11 states and was unchanged in the District of Columbia, an AGC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released on Friday showed. The highest percentage gains occurred in Iowa (17%, 12,800 jobs), followed by Hawaii (13%, 4,500), Idaho (13%, 4,800), Colorado (11%, 16,100), Arizona (8.6%, 10,900) and Massachusetts (8.4%, 11,600). Iowa and Massachusetts set new records. California again added the most jobs (29,100 jobs, 4.0%), followed by Florida (16,400, 6.1%), Colorado, Iowa and Massachusetts. North Dakota again lost the highest percentage of construction jobs (-8.5%, -2,900), followed by Wyoming (-7.5%, -1,700) and Kansas (-7.3%, -4,400). Kansas lost the largest number of construction jobs, followed by North Dakota, Alabama (-2,400, -3.0%) and Kentucky (-2,300, -3.0%). From June to July, seasonally adjusted construction employment increased in 23 states and D.C., shrank in 26 states, and was unchanged in Alaska.   
August 24, 2016
PPIs show little change in July; job growth resumes; openings rise as hiring dips in JuneEditor’s note: Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.The producer price index (PPI) for final demand in July, not seasonally adjusted, decreased 0.3% from June and 0.2% year-over-year (y/y) from July 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today. AGC posted tables and an explanation focusing on construction prices and costs. Final demand includes goods, services and five types of nonresidential buildings that BLS says make up 34% of total construction. The PPI for final demand construction, not seasonally adjusted, declined 0.6% for the month but rose 0.8% y/y. The PPI for new nonresidential building construction—a measure of the price that contractors say they would charge to build a fixed set of five categories of buildings—also rose 0.8% y/y. Changes ranged from -0.4% y/y for industrial building construction to 0.1% for schools, 0.9% for healthcare buildings, 1.4% for office buildings and 1.5% for warehouses.   
August 16, 2016
Employment rises in 64% of metros; spending drops in June but grows year-to-dateEditor’s note: Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.Construction employment, not seasonally adjusted, increased from June 2015 to June 2016 in 228 (64%) of the 358 metro areas (including divisions of larger metros) for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides construction employment data, decreased in 82 (23%) and was stagnant in 48, according to an AGC release and map on Tuesday. (BLS combines mining and logging with construction in most metros.) The Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. division again added the most jobs during the past year (12,500 construction jobs, 14%), followed by Denver-Aurora-Lakewood (10,700 construction jobs, 11%) and Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale (9,900 construction jobs, 10%).   
August 08, 2016
Construction pay rises at fastest rate since 2008, BLS finds; cost reports for July varyEditor’s note: Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.Compensation costs (wages, salaries and benefits, including required employer payments such as unemployment and workers compensation) in private industry in the second quarter of 2016 (Q2) increased 0.6%, seasonally adjusted (and also 0.6% in Q1), and 2.4% over 12 months, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today. Wages and salaries rose 0.6% in Q2 (vs. 0.7% in Q1) and 2.6% over 12 months. Compensation in construction increased 0.8% in Q2 (vs. 0.5% in Q1) and 2.5% over 12 months, the largest three- and 12-month increases since 2008.   
August 01, 2016