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
June 2017 vs. June 2016

All Construction Spending: +1.6%
Public Construction: -9.5% 
Private Construction: +5.3%

Quick Analysis: Year-over-year growth in the overall U.S. construction market leveled off to a degree in June on a seasonally adjusted basis. All growth continues to be driven by the private market as public construction spending continues to decrease over the prior year.

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

ENR Construction Cost Index
August 2017 vs. August 2016

Total Construction Costs: +4.4%
Building Cost Index: +3.4%  
Material Cost Index: +0.1%
Skilled Labor Costs: +2.1%
Common Labor Costs: +4.0% 

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.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
May 2017

Construction Unemployment: 4.9%

Quick Analysis: Industry unemployment for the month of July registered at 4.9%. While this figure represents low unemployment throughout the industry, it is interesting to note that the unemployment rate increased to 4.9% in July from 4.5% in June. Typically the unemployment rate drops from June to July each year. The last time the unemployment rate did not decrease in the month of July was 2009.

ABC Backlog Indicator
1st Quarter 2017

National Avg. Backlog:  8.3 months 

Backlog By Region:
South: 9.8 months  /  Northeast: 8.7 months  /  Middle States: 8.5 months  /  West: 7.8 months

Backlog By Company Revenue:
<$30 Million: 7.9 months   /   $30-$50 Million : 10.3 months   /   $50-$100 Million: 9.7 months    /    >$100 Million: 11.8 months

Backlog By Industry:
Commercial & Institutional: 8.9 months   /   Heavy Industrial: 5.9 months   /   Infrastructure: 11.0 months

Quick Analysis:  The ABC's Backlog Indicator report for the first quarter of 2017 shows that backlogs increased roughly 8% versus the fourth quarter of 2016. The largest backlog growth was reported in the West Region and for companies in the $30-$50 Million annual revenue category. 

Data Which Reflects Where The Industry Is Headed

AIA Architectural Billings Index
July 2017

Architectural Billings Index (ABI): 51.9
Commercial/Industrial ABI: 55.4
Institutional ABI: 52.0
Residential: 55.8
New Project Inquiry Index (NPII): 59.5

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. 

Given the strength in design activity reported from the AIA through all of 2017 to date, there is a healthy level of demand for new projects from 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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