Currently, there’s no letup in the rising tide of construction material costs. Graph 1 shows that the average year-over-year increase for two material cost indices published along with Producer Price Index results by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is forging ahead more than twice as speedily as bid prices (i.e., +26.6% y/y vs +12.4%).
A Less Than Impressive Megaproject Revival ConstructConnect announced today that December 2021's volume of construction starts, excluding residential work, was $25.8 billion (see shaded green box, bottom of Table 10), a decrease of -16.8% compared with November 2021's level of $31.0 billion (originally reported as $30.4 billion).
Clichés are often true and it is the case that a picture can be worth a thousand words.
+199,000 Net Jobs Gain in the United States The increase in the total number of jobs in the United States between the two finishing months of 2021, November and December, according to the latest Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), was +199,000.
Omicron! A word that is perfect for the times. It would be easy to imagine it originating in some fictitious techno-saturated supervillain universe that has risen to prominence in popular culture. Seemingly, it’s a virus label chosen to generate maximum angst.
North America’s four major stock market indices experienced another year of outstanding success in 2021. Never mind the pandemic or the fact rampant inflation is causing central banks to consider bringing forward interest rate hikes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index and the S&P 500 both established new record highs in December. NASDAQ and the Toronto Stock Exchange ended the year down only a little from the all-time peaks they set a month earlier in November.
2021 was a good year for housing starts in the United States. In Canada, it was an outstanding year. Through the first 11 months of 2021, in America, average monthly new home groundbreakings, seasonally adjusted at an annual rate (SAAR), were +15.4% versus January-November 2020.
Well before the pandemic, the construction sector was worrying over what was perceived as an acute shortage of labor. Much of the discussion on this topic over the past several years has been anecdotal. Or reference has been made to employment gains that have been less than they should be and unemployment rates that have sometimes turned spectacularly low.