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Reports: Construction Pulse Is Strong

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

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From spending to jobs, all signs point to a strengthening construction market.

“The demand for construction is robust and well-balanced among residential, private non-residential and public segments,” says Ken Simonson, chief economist of the Associated General Contractors of America.

Two recent federal reports showing a sharp rise in construction employment and a solid increase in construction spending have led association officials to conclude that the industry is steadily expanding to meet growing demand.

road construction
© / jocic

The construction industry is seeing growth in all major segments, according to the Associated General Contractors.

AGC released its analysis Friday (April 1).

New Jobs Added

Between February and March, employers added 37,000 construction jobs, bringing the total to 6,672,000.

Between March 2015 and March 2016, the U.S. added 301,000 construction jobs, and unemployment in the industry decreased to 8.7 percent, a 10-year low. The number of unemployed construction workers totaled 768,000, the lowest March total since 2001.

Employment expanded in both residential and nonresidential construction, AGC reported.

Nonresidential building, specialty trade, and heavy and civil engineering construction firms increased their headcount by 23,900 workers in March and by 134,800 since March 2015.

Residential building and specialty trade contractors added 13,400 employees in March and 166,000 over the last 12 months.

Construction Spending

Construction spending in February totaled $1.144 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, 0.5 percent below the upwardly revised January total but 10.3 percent higher than in February 2015, Simonson said.

Private residential spending rose nearly 1 percent for the month and 10.7 percent compared to February 2015. Spending on multifamily residential construction also increased almost 1 percent for the month and a booming 24.1 percent year-over-year, while single-family spending climbed 1.2 percent from January and 10.6 percent compared to February 2015.


Spending on multifamily residential construction has increased 24.1 percent over the last 12 months.

Public construction spending dipped 1.7 percent from a month before but rose 9.2 percent from 12 months earlier. Spending on highway and street construction—the biggest public segment—slipped 2.1 percent for the month, following an exceptionally large increase in January, but was up 24.5 percent compared to February 2015.

"Construction firms are finding a way to add staff to keep pace with growing demand for their services," said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the association. "But the pool of available experienced labor is small and getting smaller, which is why we will continue to push for measures to expand recruiting and training opportunities for future workers."

Established in 1918, AGC represents more than 30,000 firms, including general contractors, specialty contractors and service providers and suppliers.


Tagged categories: Associated General Contractors (AGC); Associations; Building owners; Business conditions; Construction; Economy; Jobs; North America; Program/Project Management; Spending

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