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U.S. Industry Snapshot - Through 3 Quarters of 2019, Total Nonresidential Construction Starts +3.0%

Alex Carrick
U.S. Industry Snapshot - Through 3 Quarters of 2019, Total Nonresidential Construction Starts +3.0%

ConstructConnect announced today that the latest month’s volume of construction starts, excluding residential work, was $34.7 billion, -32.9% compared with August’s figure of $51.6 billion (originally reported as $50.2 billion). Read the complete September 2019 Industry Snapshot article here: Through 3 Quarters of 2019, Total Nonresidential Construction Starts +3.0%

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

The decline of nearly one-third (or -$16.9 billion) was due to a disparity in ‘mega project’ start-ups. Whereas August featured 5 projects of a billion dollars or more each, totaling $18.7 billion, September had only two such undertakings, combining for $2.3 billion (yielding a gap of -$16.4 billion).

September 2019’s total nonresidential starts relative to September 2018 were -1.8%. September of this year’s level compared with the five-year average for September from 2014 through 2018 inclusive was +2.2%. September 2019 year-to-date total nonresidential starts have been +3.0%.

 
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Construction Overview – Jobs Growth Slows but Unemployment Rate Ultra-Tight

Total employment in the U.S. construction sector rose by only +7,000 jobs in September, lowering the year-to-date monthly average for 2019 to +12,000, well under last year’s comparable figure of +26,000. The latest year-over-year increase in ‘hard hat’ jobs was +2.1%, the slowest rate of advance since January 2013 (also +2.1%). The most recent peak annual employment gain occurred in December 2014, at +6.1%. Construction’s NSA unemployment rate in September, however, was extremely tight at 3.2%. A level of 3.2%, which also occurred in May of this year, is the lowest figure for construction’s unemployment rate this century.

Returning to year-over-year jobs growth, the increase economy-wide in September was +1.4% with health care, at +2.6%, taking over as the sector with the speediest increase.

September’s year-over-year employment changes in sub-segments of the economy with close ties to construction were: ‘oil and gas extraction’, +10.6%; ‘machinery and equipment rental’, +9.6%;  ‘architectural and engineering services’, +2.8%; ‘real estate activities’, +2.5%; ‘cement and concrete product manufacturing’, +1.6%; and ‘building material and supplies dealers’, +0.5%.

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

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

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


Alex Carrick is Chief Economist for ConstructConnect. He has delivered presentations throughout North America on the U.S., Canadian and world construction outlooks. Mr. Carrick has been with the company since 1985. Links to his numerous articles are featured on Twitter @ConstructConnx, which has 50,000 followers.

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