Construction Economic News
ConstructConnect’s Expansion Index data through the end of June 2023 reported accelerating contemplated spending growth in the U.S. and Canada at the rate of 16% and 5%, respectively. Rising contemplated spending in the provinces of Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Ontario offset contracting results in Newfoundland and Quebec. Canada’s overall reading was slowed by a substantially lower reading for Quebec from the month prior.
ConstructConnect's Project Stress Index is a new resource that tracks changes in the level of projects that are delayed, placed on hold, or abandoned based on weekly construction activity data.
So far, minimally deterred by the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes, the unemployment rate in the United States has stayed near rock bottom. Seasonally adjusted (SA), it’s been less than 4.0% for 15 months in a row, indicative of a labor market that’s about as tight as it has ever been.
The recent history of global energy price movements is unprecedented. Not since at least World War II have energy firms, or their customers, experienced the severity and frequency of price shocks that have occurred as a result of COVID-19 and, more recently, the war in Ukraine.
The economics team at ConstructConnect frequently emphasizes the importance that geography and market verticals have on the future prospects of any construction firm. Freely available data from our Expansion Index makes it possible for any construction business owner with a computer to view for themselves the expected divergence in anticipated construction spending by metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and market vertical. ConstructConnect Insight allows users to see not only historical construction spending by MSA and vertical, but forecast expectations as well.
Joy was expressed by economic commentators when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported May’s year-over-year change in the headline Producer Price Index to be a mere +1.2%. As Graph 1 illustrates, there’s a close correlation between changes in the Consumer Price Index (i.e., inflation) and changes in the top-level PPI number.
Clichés are often true and it is the case that a picture can be worth a thousand words.
A Splash of Cooler Water ConstructConnect announced today that May 2023’s volume of construction starts, excluding residential work, was $49.2 billion, an increase of +4.3% versus April 2023’s figure of $47.1 billion (originally reported as $47.0 billion).
After surging to notable peaks of $1,400 per contract in May 2021 and a similarly impressive $1,300 in February 2022, the continuous contract prices for Random Length Lumber are currently in search of a market floor. As of May 15, 2023, prices had plummeted to $344, marking a three-year low that was only slightly surpassed by the knee-jerk collapse in prices during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the disruption caused by the pandemic, lumber prices had traded within a narrow range of $390 to $440 per contract.