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.
U.S. construction starts grew 16.7% in 2022 to $912 billion. A record value for megaprojects (projects valued above $1 billion) was posted in 2022, with 31 such projects started for a total value of $105.3 billion. Nonresidential building starts grew 36.7%, driven by new factory buildings. Civil engineering starts grew 26.9% in 2022, with all sectors expanding except for the miscellaneous civil engineering sector. New residential construction, by contrast, fell 2.2%. On a regional basis, new construction grew in all four major regions, led by construction in the South.
Broad measures of construction material prices have pointed to a sharp slowing of year-on-year price increases for said materials. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index for construction materials which registered 30% and greater annualized price increases between June 2021 and January 2022, marked its first annualized contractionary reading of -2.36% at the end of 2022.
In January, the United States recorded a big employment increase, +517,000 jobs. In the same month, and with a considerably smaller population base, Canada followed suit, +150,000 jobs.
With trillions of dollars on the line and reputations at stake, banks have a strong incentive to accurately gauge the future of the economy. If the economy appears as though it is about to falter, banks have several ways to protect themselves from losing money or even risking their solvency. In short, banks can increase, or tighten, their loan standards, granting loans only to entities that they perceive as being the safest risks and hence more likely to pay back their loans.
U.S. lawmakers are preparing to impose a 200% tariff on Russian aluminum, according to a recent report from Bloomberg News. This tariff would effectively triple the price paid by U.S. importers of Russian aluminum and articles thereof, effectively pricing Russian aluminum out of the U.S. market.
As a follow-up to an article on U.S. construction material costs, the table and charts in this piece look at what has been happening in Canada. Generally speaking, the story in both countries is the same. While some inputs into construction are continuing to show price increases that are way up year over year, there are also instances of big declines. Furthermore, the trend over the latest three months decidedly features price retreats rather than advances.
A swell of fiscal results from publicly traded firms at the end of 2022 is just now being released to Wall Street and the public. In the coming weeks, these data will be used to update the future estimates of both revenues and earnings for the rest of 2023 and at least a portion of 2024.
The U.S. total number of jobs count rose by more than half a million in January, according to the latest Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The climb in employment of +517,000 positions was double the increase in the preceding month of December.
Graph 1 below shows the moderation in construction material costs that has been taking place. There’s about a 50-50 split between items with year-over-year price increases versus those with y/y declines.
The National Association of Realtors January data release, covering activity for December 2022, pointed to a 10th consecutive month of quickly declining U.S. existing home sales. December’s reading of 4.02 million units was hardly different from the 4.01 million units reading, recorded soon after federally mandated lockdowns forced many title and realty offices to cease normal operations. To find an equivalent period, one must return to the worst depths of the Great Recession in mid-2010 to find a period when existing home sales activity was below the latest recorded level.