Latest Construction Economic Data

Catalyst Construction Economics Hub

Know where the industry is.
Know where it is headed.

In addition to providing bonds, we view it as our job to keep our clients informed with information which impacts their business. One of the ways we keep you informed is by compiling key economic data and leading economic indicators from multiple construction sources on this page.  Collectively this information reflects the state of the current construction industry and provides an indication of where the market is headed. 
This information is sent out monthly via our Catalyst Construction Brief.  At the bottom of the page you will find links to our most recent issues of this publication along with a link to subscribe. 

Data Which Reflects Where The Industry Is Today

U.S. Census Bureau - Construction Spending
Year-To-Date Annual Total - Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate
August 2017 vs. August 2016

All Construction Spending: +2.5%
Public Construction: -5.1% 
Private Construction: +4.7%
Residential Construction: +11.3%
Non-Residential Construction: -3.4%

Quick Analysis: The annual growth in construction spending is entirely driven by the residential market. Looking deeper into the data, the single family residential market is responsible for the annual spending growth across the country as multi-family spending has slowed. Total non-residential spending is actually down 3.4% versus the prior year. 

Click the category below to see a detailed breakdown of the most recent construction spending data.

ENR Construction Cost Index
October 2017 vs. October 2016

Total Construction Costs: +3.7%
Building Cost Index: +3.3%  
Material Cost Index: +0.7%
Skilled Labor Costs: +2.2%
Common Labor Costs: +3.6% 

Quick Analysis: Inflation in labor costs continue to be the primary driver of the increasing Total Construction Cost Index. With a tight employment market, this trend is not expected to change in the ensuing months unless the amount of construction spending declines.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
September 2017

Construction Unemployment: 4.7%

Quick Analysis: September's reported industry unemployment rate of 4.7% is the lowest industry unemployment rate for the month of September since 2000 (4.6%). The unemployment rate has remained relatively constant from July through September, hovering in the 4.5% to 4.9% range.

ABC Backlog Indicator
2nd Quarter 2017

National Avg. Backlog:  8.6 months 

Backlog By Region:
South: 9.0 months  /  Northeast: 9.7 months  /  Middle States: 7.9 months  /  West: 6.8 months

Backlog By Company Revenue:
<$30 Million: 7.5 months   /   $30-$50 Million : 10.9 months   /   $50-$100 Million: 9.2 months    /    >$100 Million: 11.1 months

Backlog By Industry:
Commercial & Institutional: 8.4 months   /   Heavy Industrial: 5.5 months   /   Infrastructure: 11.7 months

Quick Analysis:  The ABC's Backlog Indicator report for the second quarter of 2017 shows that backlogs decreased by just over 4% from the first quarter. The largest backlog growth was reported in the Northeast Region and for companies in the $30-$50 Million annual revenue category.  

Data Which Reflects Where The Industry Is Headed

AIA Architectural Billings Index
September 2017

Architectural Billings Index (ABI): 49.1
Commercial/Industrial ABI: 54.0
Institutional ABI: 51.0
Residential: 51.0
New Project Inquiry Index (NPII): 59.00

Quick Analysis: Index value > 50 represents that architects have reported more activity for that particular metric than the prior month. These metrics are leading indicators as the ABI reflects projects in design that will enter the construction phase in 9 to 12 months and the NPII reflects new project demand from owners to potentially enter the design phase. 

In September, the AIA's ABI survey results reflect the first monthly decline in demand for design services in seven months. The New Project Inquiry Index, while still healthy, also dropped on a month-over-month basis. Reading into the data, these index values paired with the recent trend in the indexes point to continued strong demand for new projects from potential project owners.

Most Recent Issues of the Catalyst Construction Brief

Subscribe: Catalyst Construction Brief

Interested in hearing firsthand what we are seeing or hearing from an economic perspective around the construction market?  Feel free to give us a call as we would look forward to having a general conversation with you.  Given we are talking with clients and contacts of all sizes across a broad geographic area, we have a unique perspective which we are happy to share.
(704) 208-4884
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