Construction Economic News
It would be comforting to think the post-pandemic economic recovery will proceed along the same path as other post-recession recoveries. No doubt there will be some similarities; but there will also be major differences.
High-Tech Giants Step to the Plate ConstructConnect announced today that August 2021's volume of construction starts, excluding residential work, was $33.0 billion (see shaded green box, bottom of Table 8 below) a decrease of -14.2% vs July 2021's level of $38.5 billion (originally reported as $37.6 billion).
Clichés are often true and it is the case that a picture can be worth a thousand words.
According to Statistics Canada, the Canadian total jobs count climbed by +90,000 in August to sit at just under 19 million. The year-over-year gain in employment has been only slightly under a million jobs (+958,000). Ontario (+419,000 jobs) and British Columbia (+201,000 jobs) have been the two provinces with the best records in nominal jobs creation over the past 12 months.
U.S. Economy Stumbling Blocks A year and a half into the coronavirus health crisis, the economies of the United States and Canada have been running into some stumbling blocks. In the United States, GDP growth in Q1 and Q2 of this year, at +6.3% and +6.5% respectively (quarter to quarter annualized), was looking pretty good, and not far out of line with the +7.0% forecast figure for the full year adopted by many analysts. But the third quarter has not been looking as sparky.
August’s Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the total number of jobs in the U.S. economy rose by +235,000 in the latest month. A gain of nearly a quarter of a million jobs may sound like a lot, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s rather tame.
The latest (July 2021) U.S. put-in-place construction spending numbers from the Census Bureau are shown in Table 1 below.
Canada’s foreign trade picture brightened considerably in June. The nation’s merchandise trade balance recorded its biggest surplus since before the 2008-2009 recession. Furthermore, there have now been four surpluses in the past six months. During the decade prior to this year, Canada’s monthly goods trade balance spent a lot of time below the zero x-axis (Graph 1). (‘Merchandise’ trade is a fancier way of saying ‘goods’ as opposed to ‘services’ trade.)
The headlines are no longer screaming about steeply climbing lumber prices. The ultra-sharp gains are over and a pullback phase has settled in.