A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

AGC's Data DIGest: June 24 – July 2, 2013

Increasing Bar GraphResidential, public construction expand in May but nonres stalls; more metros add jobs

Editor’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 Spending in May totaled $875 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, up 0.5% from April and 5.4% from May 2012, the Census Bureau reported on Monday. Private residential spending jumped 1.2% for the month and 23% year-over-year. Private nonresidential spending slumped 1.4% and 0.9%, respectively. Public construction spending climbed 1.8% in May but fell 4.7% over 12 months. Of the three residential components, new single-family construction rose 0.4% and 33%, respectively; new multifamily spending, 2.5% and 52%; and improvements to existing single- and multifamily buildings, 1.9% and 7.1%. The three largest private nonresidential components (in descending order of current size) varied: power construction (including conventional and renewable power plus oil and gas fields and pipelines) rose 2.1% for the month but slipped 1.5% from a year ago; manufacturing construction fell 8.1% in May and 3.4% over 12 months; and commercial (new and renovated retail, warehouse and farm) dropped 1.6% in May but gained 2.2% since May 2012. The best-performing private nonresidential category over the past year was lodging, up 22% (up 1.6% since April). Of the top two public categories, highway and street construction rose 0.8% in May but fell 7.3% year-over-year, while educational added 0.4% for the month but sank 11% year-over-year. Census released revised monthly data back to January 2011 that raised the 2011 total by $10 billion (1.3%), lowered the 2012 total by $11 billion (-1.3%) and raised the April 2013 total by $10 billion (1.1%). The largest revisions in April data were in residential improvements (+$15 billion) and private power (-$13 billion).

Construction employment increased in 185 out of 339 metropolitan areas (including divisions of larger metros) between May 2012 and May 2013, declined in 115 and was stagnant in 39, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data that AGC released on Friday. (BLS combines mining and logging with construction in most metros to avoid disclosing data about industries with few employers. Metro data is not seasonally adjusted.) Pascagoula, Miss. again added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (47%, 2,000 combined jobs); followed by Eau Claire, Wis. (29%, 900 combined jobs); Hanford-Corcoran, Calif. (29%, 200 combined jobs) and Napa, Calif. (25%, 600 combined jobs). Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale added the most new jobs (13,000 construction jobs, 15%), followed by the Dallas-Plano-Irving division (9,700 combined jobs, 9%); the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy division (9,100 construction jobs, 18%); Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown (8,900 construction jobs, 5%) and the Fort Worth-Arlington division (8,800 combined jobs, 15%). The largest job losses were in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (-3,100 construction jobs, -5%), followed by Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky. (-2,800 combined jobs, -7%); Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, Calif. (-2,800 combined jobs, -7%) and Northern Virginia (-2,600 combined jobs, -4%). Rockford, Ill. (-18%, -800 combined jobs) and Steubenville-Weirton, Ohio-W.Va. (-18%, -300 combined jobs) lost the highest percentage, followed by Decatur, Ill. (-14%, -500 combined jobs); Mansfield, Ohio (-14%, -300 combined jobs) and Pocatello, Idaho (-14%, -200 combined jobs).

Personal income by state decreased an average 1.2%, seasonally adjusted, from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on Friday. Total earnings—the sum of wage and salary disbursements (payrolls), supplements to wages and salaries, and proprietors’ income—rose 0.2%. Construction earnings increased 2.8%, with gains in the District of Columbia and every state except South Dakota (-0.3%) and West Virginia (-0.15%). The steepest increases in construction earnings occurred in Alaska (6.8%), New York and Utah (4.9% each).

Consultancy Rider Levett Bucknall reported on June 25 that its National Construction Cost Index increased 1.0% from January 1 to April 1and 2.8% over the past year. The index “tracks the ‘true’ bid cost of construction, which includes, in addition to costs of labor and materials, general contractor and subcontractor overhead costs and fees (profit). The index also includes applicable sales/use taxes that ‘standard’ construction contracts attract.” Among 12 city-specific indexes, first-quarter cost increases ranged from 0.2% in Las Vegas to 2.0% in Washington.

Construction of natural-gas fueling stations appears to be a growing niche. UPS Inc. “said it will build nine more natural-gas filling stations, including three in Tennessee due to natural gas available year-round for transportation and a favorable regulatory environment, according to Bloomberg,” the online news bulletin TT Express reported on Thursday. “The impending purchase follows April's announcement that the company will…construct four refueling stations by the end of 2014.” Another story in the same issue reports, “Trillium CNG said it plans to build 101 [heavy-truck] compressed natural-gas filling stations by 2016. The stations will be in 29 states across the country with 14 planned for Texas, eight in Ohio and seven in Florida, according to Trillium. Sites are based on customers' demands that CNG stations be built off of major interstate highways near their key shipping lanes.”

The Data DIGest is a weekly summary of economic news; items most relevant to construction are in italics. All rights reserved. Sign up at www.agc.org/datadigest.

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human and to prevent automated spam submissions.