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Survey: North American Crane Count Drops

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

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According to the 2020 Q3 report from Rider Levett Bucknall’s Crane Index for North America, which is published biannually, the number of cranes in North American cities has decreased for the first time since July 2017.

According to the count, the number of cranes dropped from 455 to 415 between Q1 and Q3 of 2020. The report tracks the number of operating tower cranes in 14 major cities across the U.S. and Canada.

About the Data

The cities surveyed include Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Denver, Hilo, Honolulu, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Maui, New York, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Toronto, Tucson, Waikoloa, Washington, D.C., and St. Lucia.

Vladimirovic / Getty Images

According to the 2020 Q3 report from Rider Levett Bucknall’s Crane Index for North America, which is published biannually, the number of cranes in North American cities has decreased for the first time since July 2017.

The survey also looked at key construction sectors, including civil, commercial, cultural, education, federal, healthcare, hospitality, industrial, mixed use, public/civic, public assembly, residential, sport, transportation and others.

The data found that Toronto still has the most cranes in a North American city, with 124—the city has boasted the largest number of cranes since 2015.

Of the 14 measured cities, only Phoenix, Seattle, Toronto and Washington, D.C., saw an increase in the number of cranes.

Meanwhile, five cities—Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, New York and San Francisco—experienced a “significant decrease,” dropping by 27-76%.

“In an early response to coronavirus, some cities imposed a pause on non-essential construction,” the survey noted.

“While these bands have been lifted and projects have resumed, the pandemic-induced recession is expected to have far-reaching effects. Lenders are less likely to support large, new developments in sectors that have been significantly impacts, like sports and hospitality. We are already seeing more competitive bidding for the fewer projects that are coming online.”

This data complements the surveys continually released from the Associated General Contractors of America, which released an analysis at the end of July that specifically looked at construction employment in metro areas.

AGC Data

That report showed that 62% of metro areas decreased construction employment over the past 12 months, despite the employment rebounds of that timeframe.

The data looked at 358 metro areas and of those, construction employment decreased in 225, was stagnant in 39 and increased in 94. In addition to that, 18 metros had all-time lows for June construction employment, while at the same time, 28 areas had record highs.

For comparison, from May to June—a month when construction employment typically increases in most metro areas—291 metros added construction employees, 42 areas had a decrease and 25 were stagnant.

Some specific statistics that AGC highlighted include:

  • The largest percentage increase occurred in Monroe, Michigan, with 31% (500 jobs);
  • New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana, lost the most jobs during the month with -1,500 jobs (-6%); and
  • The largest percentage loss was in Yuba City, California, with -10% (-300 jobs).

   

Tagged categories: Cranes; Economy; Good Technical Practice; Industry surveys; Jobs; Market data; NA; North America

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