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U.S. Industry Snapshot - Construction Starts Settled into More Normal Pattern in April, +3% M/M

Alex Carrick
U.S. Industry Snapshot - Construction Starts Settled into More Normal Pattern in April, +3% M/M

In its latest U.S. Industry Snapshot, ConstructConnect announced today that the latest month’s volume of construction starts, excluding residential work, was $37.6 billion, an increase of +3% versus March. The month-to-month starts gain, however, fell short of the +10% pickup that usually occurs at this time of year when there is warming weather and favourable seasonality.

Construction Starts Settled into More Normal Pattern in April, +3% M/M Graphic

Click here to read the complete April 2019 Industry Snapshot article, “Construction Starts Settled into More Normal Pattern in April, +3% M/M” – below is a short excerpt.

April’s starts, especially in square footage, were lifted by two mega projects originating in the high-tech sector. Amazon greenlit a new distribution center in Kentucky, near Cincinnati’s International Airport, and Google launched a data center in South Carolina (See Top 10 Project Starts in the U.S. – April 2019.).

The dollar volume of nonresidential starts in the latest month was quite close to its ‘norm’ for the preceding five years. Compared with the average for April from 2014 through 2018, April 2019 was a match, +0.5%. On a year-to-date basis, nonresidential starts through the first third of 2019 are -14.4% compared with their volume in the same January-to-April period of last year.

 
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Construction Overview

Total employment in the U.S. construction sector rose by +33,000 jobs in April, according to the latest Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Monthly average hiring by construction firms so far this year has been +21,000, which is down by a little more than one-third (-37.2%) when compared with the +34,000 figure for same period of last year.

On a year-over-year basis, construction is in top spot for jobs growth (+3.5%) among all major industrial sectors. ‘Transportation and warehousing’ (+3.3%) sits in second place, with ‘leisure and hospitality’ (+2.8%) in third. Construction’s year-over-year +3.5% hike has been nearly double the national all-jobs rate of +1.8% and more than double manufacturing’s +1.6%.

Construction’s NSA unemployment rate in April was 4.7%, down from 5.2% in March and an improvement of almost two percentage points from April 2018’s 6.5%. America’s economy-wide unemployment rate numbers are currently extraordinarily tight at 3.3% NSA and 3.6% SA.

Year-over-year employment changes in other corners of the economy important to construction in April were: ‘machinery and equipment rental’, +11.6%; ‘oil and gas extraction’, +6.1%; ‘real estate firms’, +3.0%; ‘architectural and engineering services’, +2.9%; ‘building material and supplies dealers’, -1.5%; and ‘cement and concrete product manufacturing’, -1.6%.

Click here to download the Construction Industry Snapshot Package – April 2019 PDF.

Click here for the Top 10 Project Starts in the U.S. – April 2019.

Click here for the Nonresidential Construction Starts Trend Graphs – April 2019.

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