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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.

Blog Feature

By: Michael Guckes, Chief Economist
September 26th, 2023

COMPOSITE OVERVIEW: The project stress index composite represents an equal-weight measure of the seasonally adjusted level of pre-construction projects that have experienced a delayed bid date, have been placed on hold, or have been abandoned in the last 30-days. Compared to the average level of project stress in 2021, today’s stress level is 14.8% higher. This week’s composite result increased 5.7% from the prior week due to a 12-point and 7-point increase in abandoned and on hold projects respectively. The seasonally adjusted reading of delayed bid date projects was unchanged. The latest composite reading is the highest since mid-May of this year when a short-lived but severe increase in the level of abandoned and on hold projects elevated the composite reading.

Blog Feature

By: Michael Guckes, Chief Economist
September 15th, 2023

Many contractors remain bullish on multifamily housing demand; this risks an oversupply problem--especially for luxury and high-end developers at a particularly dangerous time.

Blog Feature

By: Michael Guckes, Chief Economist
September 12th, 2023

Data for the week ending September 9th reported mixed results with delayed projects both rising in the latest week as well as being revised higher in the prior week. Additionally, the level of on hold projects moved lower for a second week while abandoned projects were unchanged. Since mid-year, weekly results have pointed to an upward rise in the number of private projects reporting some form of project stress relative to public projects. This divergence in project behavior reinforces our past recommendation that contractors diversify their revenues streams by sector, vertical and geography if possible in order to minimize their company’s dependence on any single segment within the greater construction industry.

Blog Feature

By: Michael Guckes, Chief Economist
September 7th, 2023

Data for the week ending September 2nd reported declining levels of delayed, on hold and abandoned projects. All three measures of project stress remain near or below comparable levels of the last two years. Historically the third quarter marks the seasonal apex in on hold and abandoned project levels. Additionally, this year’s financial markets dynamics continue to generate headwinds for construction developers and owners as banks continue to employ austere lending practices. For these reasons September’s results should be followed particularly closely.

Blog Feature

By: Alex Carrick, Chief Economist
September 3rd, 2023

The headline number for U.S. jobs growth in August, from today’s release of the Employment Situation report, authored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is +187,000, which sounds pretty good at first reading. Upon closer examination, however, it loses some luster.

Blog Feature

By: Michael Guckes, Chief Economist
August 31st, 2023

This year, the jobs market has frequently been cited as a cause for economic optimism; however, recent jobs data suggest this most important pillar of the economy may be faltering.

Blog Feature

By: Michael Guckes, Chief Economist
August 28th, 2023

Data for the week ending August 26th continues to signal that the transition of nonresidential and civil projects from concept to physical completion remains high. All three measures of project stress remain at or below comparable levels of recent years. Historically the third quarter of each year marks the seasonal apex in on hold and abandoned project levels; however, this year’s results are thus far on track to be their lowest since 2020. These encouraging results have come notwithstanding the headwinds caused by an eroding credit market for construction developers and owners.

Blog Feature

By: Michael Guckes, Chief Economist
August 22nd, 2023

Data released for the week ending August 19th provided further evidence of a strong construction industry as fewer projects reported faltering in their transition from concept to physical completion. All three measures of project stress declined in the latest weekly results. Historically the third quarter of the year marks the seasonal apex in on hold and abandoned project levels; however, 2023 levels thus far are on track to be their lowest since 2020. These encouraging results have come notwithstanding the rising precariousness of financial markets.

Blog Feature

By: Michael Guckes, Chief Economist
August 21st, 2023

It Starts with Government Spending Public spending and infrastructure have a long and extensive relationship. The Public Works Administration, part of the New Deal in 1933 and a response to the Great Depression of 1928, formalized the modern-day large-scale public works that have changed America for the better. Every day, Americans enjoy arguably the world’s largest public works project in recorded history when they use the Interstate Highway System.

Blog Feature

By: Michael Guckes, Chief Economist
August 14th, 2023

Stress readings in the week ending August 12th provided further encouraging news for the industry. Delayed and On hold project levels both fell during the latest week. Historically the third quarter of the year marks the seasonal apex in on hold and abandoned project levels; however, 2023 levels thus far are on track to be their lowest since 2020. These encouraging results have come notwithstanding rising bank standards for CRE loans and higher financing costs.