ConstructConnect announced today that the latest month’s volume of construction starts, excluding residential work, was $50.2 billion, +8.9% compared with July’s upwardly revised figure of $46.1 billion (originally reported as $45.4 billion). Read the complete August 2019 Industry Snapshot article here: Industrial and Civil Work Raised August Nonresidential Starts +9% vs July.
While July featured a wealth of mega project starts (four for more than $1 billion each, totaling $8.7 billion), August’s record was even better (five such projects adding to $18.7 billion). August’s largest groundbreaking was a $10 billion ExxonMobil ethane cracker in Texas.
On a year-over-year basis, nonresidential starts in August 2019 compared with August 2018 were ahead by more than one-third, +34.4%. With respect to year to date, nonresidential starts so far in 2019 have been +2.2% compared with the same January-to-August time frame of last year.
The jobs count in the U.S. construction sector in August climbed by the same amount as the monthly average increase to date in 2019, +14,000. 2019’s monthly average gain, however, is off by more than half (-53.3%) versus 2018’s January-to-August average of +31,000. The NSA unemployment rate among ‘hard hat’ workers tightened a shade in the latest month to 3.6% from 3.8% in July, but it wasn’t quite as low as in August 2018, 3.4%. Construction’s unemployment rate is still below the headline all-jobs rates of 3.7% SA and 3.8% NSA. As for year-over-year employment change, construction (+2.4%) is still outperforming every other major sector except health care and social assistance (+2.6%) and is setting a pace well ahead of all-jobs (+1.4%).
August’s year-over-year staffing changes in sub-segments of the economy with close ties to construction were: ‘machinery and equipment rental’, +11.8%; ‘oil and gas extraction’, +9.0%; ‘real estate sales activity’, +3.1%; ‘architectural and engineering services’, +2.6%; ‘cement and concrete product manufacturing’, +1.9%; and ‘building material and supplies dealers’, 0.0%.
Click here to download the Construction Industry Snapshot Package – August 2019 PDF.
Click here for the Top 10 Project Starts in the U.S. – August 2019.
Click here for the Nonresidential Construction Starts Trend Graphs – August 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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