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Construction Economic News

Stay up to date on the latest construction economic news and get in-depth analysis and insights from Chief Economist Alex Carrick and Senior Economist Michael Guckes.

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In 2017, several years before the coronavirus health crisis, "bricks and mortar" retail construction starts began a steep slide that lasted through the following four years.

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It’ll be a red-letter day when U.S. total employment finally returns to the peak of 152.5 million jobs it achieved in February 2020, before the arrival of COVID-19. January 2022’s month-to-month net hiring of +467,000 jobs was certainly a strong step towards achieving that milestone.

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The inflation-adjusted dollar volume of U.S. gross domestic product in 2020 fell steeply (-3.4% year over year), so perhaps it was only natural that with the loosening of controls first placed on the economy to combat COVID-19, GDP in 2021 would fare much better, +5.7% y/y (Graph 1).

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Among America’s dozen most populous cities, the five with the lowest unemployment rates, according to the latest (i.e., for November 2021) ‘household survey’ conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are Atlanta (2.2% not seasonally adjusted), Phoenix (2.8%), Washington (3.6%), Miami (3.7%), and San Francisco (3.8%).

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There is much to discuss in this latest mid-month Nuggets report, so let’s dive right in.

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Currently, there’s no letup in the rising tide of construction material costs. Graph 1 shows that the average year-over-year increase for two material cost indices published along with Producer Price Index results by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is forging ahead more than twice as speedily as bid prices (i.e., +26.6% y/y vs +12.4%).

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The accompanying table records the top 10 project starts in the U.S. for December 2021.

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A Less Than Impressive Megaproject Revival ConstructConnect announced today that December 2021's volume of construction starts, excluding residential work, was $25.8 billion (see shaded green box, bottom of Table 10), a decrease of -16.8% compared with November 2021's level of $31.0 billion (originally reported as $30.4 billion).

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Clichés are often true and it is the case that a picture can be worth a thousand words.

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+199,000 Net Jobs Gain in the United States The increase in the total number of jobs in the United States between the two finishing months of 2021, November and December, according to the latest Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), was +199,000.

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