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

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August Found July To Be Hard Act To Follow ConstructConnect announced today that August 2022’s volume of construction starts, excluding residential work, was $40.0 billion, a decrease of -26.3% compared with July’s figure of $54.3 billion (originally reported as $53.7 billion).

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Statistics Canada’s August Labour Force Survey report was a downer. It set out a third straight month of total jobs count decline. In August, the employment step back was -40,000 jobs. In the two preceding months of July and June, the retreats were -30,000 and -43,000 respectively.

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ConstructConnect’s Expansion Index, a monthly measure of the dollar value of planned or contemplated construction projects compared to the same month one year ago, for September 2022 was 10% and 20% higher overall in Canada and the United States, respectively.

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In recent months, the price spread between European natural gas and U.S. natural gas has grown to unprecedented levels in modern history, largely because of Russia’s tactical closure of major gas pipelines to EU nations. The latest data from the International Monetary Fund and U.S. Energy Information Administration put the price difference measured in dollars per Million British Thermal Units at $42.82. As a result, energy costs in the EU are many times greater than in the United States.

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The other day, I wrote about U.S. city labor markets. Today’s article presents the same subject matter and graphics for Canada.

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It’s always helpful to know which U.S. cities have the hottest economies and one way to make that assessment is to look at their labor markets.

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One important indicator of supply chain conditions is the Manufacturing Supplier Deliveries Index produced by the Institute for Supply Management This index is calculated using the responses from a monthly survey sent out to manufacturers across the United States. The survey’s question about supplier deliveries asks whether they are arriving faster, slower, or unchanged compared to the prior month.

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The total number-of-jobs count in the United States rose by +315,000 in August, according to the latest Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At least, +315,000 is the figure that will be featured in media headlines; but it doesn’t tell a totally accurate story.

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The great debate concerning whether the United States is already in recession or is about to head down that path continues. 2022’s Q1 and Q2 gross domestic product performance figures are now estimated to be -1.6% and -0.6% respectively. But economywide unemployment is at a historic low and, as ConstructConnect is finding, many firms are feeling confident enough to go ahead with massive construction projects.

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