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.
As the United States added 263,000 jobs in November, Canada stood by and watched in awe. The change in total employment north of the border in the latest month, according to Statistics Canada, was only +10,000 jobs.
A Change Has Come Over Stock Markets Earlier this year, a terrible gloom descended on stock markets both at home and internationally. Fears of what rising interest rates would do to economies near and far sent investors hurrying to divest their holdings. The exiting was especially brutal from March through September.
As the war in Ukraine quickly approaches the one-year mark, discussions of how the world will coordinate a long-term strategy that economically targets Russia while minimizing the collateral damage done to other economies have only grown.
Some of the factors that have been driving rapid price inflation are relenting. The higher interest rates have pricked the balloon of excess consumer demand. Commodity price changes that were once hot have now cooled. Many of the blockages in supply chains have been relieved through workarounds and by hiring more freight haulers and other logistical staff.
Once again, there was little wrong with the U.S. labor market picture in the just-released monthly update from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. November’s jobs creation figure was +263,000, not far off what it’s been in each of the three preceding months.
The current year, 2022, is shaping up to be the best ever for megaproject initiations. Megas are projects carrying an estimated construction value of $1 billion dollars or more each. For many of these projects, there’s also a machinery and equipment component in the total capital spending or investment figure that is often roughly equivalent to the construction cost.
Wages in the construction and manufacturing sectors continued to push higher early in the fourth quarter of 2022. The average hourly compensation for all employees in the construction sector ended October 2022 at $35.27, an increase of 13.2% from the end of 2019. Similarly, manufacturing wages have increased from $28.16 at the end of 2019 to $31.23 in October, notching a smaller gain of 10.9%.
The U.S. and Canadian central banks are determined to slow their economies enough through interest rate hikes to put a choke hold on inflation (which, by the way, is showing signs of relenting in both countries). The slowing of the economy part of the plan is worrisome because it might bring on recessions of who knows what duration or magnitude.
The accompanying table records the top 10 project starts in the United States for October 2022.
Clichés are often true and it is the case that a picture can be worth a thousand words.