Steel Blog

Dodge Index Declines for Fourth Month

Friday, 06 October 2017 15:42

The Dodge Momentum Index slumped 8.4 percent to a reading of 116.4 in September. The index, published by Dodge Data & Analytics, is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which has been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.



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The construction industry added 8,000 jobs in September for its highest level since 2008, but could have hired even more if qualified workers were available, said the Associated General Contractors of America.

Construction unemployment was 4.7 percent in September, its lowest September rate since 2000, said AGC. Average hourly earnings have increased 3 percent from last year to $29.19, nearly 10 percent more than the average nonfarm private sector job in the U.S.

The Associated General Contractors of America urged Congress and the Trump administration to include new spending as part of the tax reform proposal to reverse declining infrastructure investment. New investments will offset declining public sector demand and help boost overall economic activity, said AGC.

"It is hard for American employers to be globally competitive when their workers are stuck in traffic and their products are being detoured around crumbling bridges," said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr.

Most major construction spending categories increased from July to August, but activity was mixed compared to spending levels a year earlier, according to an analysis of new government data by the AGC. Association officials noted that big drops in public investments mean infrastructure will continue to deteriorate and impede economic growth.

CPIP Data: Construction Growth Slows

Tuesday, 03 October 2017 17:24

Total construction expenditures contracted in the three months through August year over year for the first time since November 2011, according to August data for construction put in place (CPIP) released by the Department of Commerce on Monday. Privately funded projects still have positive growth on a rolling 12-month basis, but are more than negated by contraction in state, local and federal projects. All three sectors have negative momentum. Construction is extremely seasonal; the growth or contraction we report in this analysis has had seasonality removed by providing only year-over-year comparisons.



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Construction employment increased in 274 out of 358 metro areas between August 2016 and August 2017, declined in 52 and stagnated in 32, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the construction job gains come even as 70 percent of responding firms reported having a hard time finding qualified craft workers to hire.

ABI: Strong Growth in Design Activity

Thursday, 21 September 2017 10:48

The American Institute of Architects' Architecture Billings Index continued to show demand for design services with a seventh month of growth in August.The ABI gained 1.8 points last month for a solid score of 53.7. The new projects inquiry index rose to 62.5 from 59.5 and the new design contracts index slipped to 54.2 from 56.4



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Construction Jobs Build, But Labor’s Tight

Saturday, 16 September 2017 12:00

Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs in the year from August 2016 to August 2017, reports the Associated General Contractors of America, analyzing Labor Department data. Hiring likely would have been stronger if not for a shortage of workers.

Seventy percent of companies report having a hard time finding craft workers to hire. "Firms in most states are expanding their headcount to keep pace with growing demand for many types of construction projects," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the AGC. "While it is too early to tell what impacts Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will have on the sector's workforce, there are not a lot of unemployed, experienced workers available to travel to Texas or Florida to help communities rebuild."



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Hurricanes' Impact on Housing in the South

Thursday, 14 September 2017 09:43

Southeast Texas, including Houston, is considered one of the most affordable large housing markets in the nation, said Svenja Gudel, chief economist at Zillow. That may change in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

"Housing has historically been affordable in the area because it's relatively easy to build homes there. Unfortunately, a lot of those homes were built in areas vulnerable to flooding, both on the coasts and from rising rivers and bayous farther inland."



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Dodge Momentum Index Dips in August

Friday, 08 September 2017 12:50

The Dodge Momentum Index, a measure of nonresidential construction projects in planning, dropped 2.4 percent to register 129.1 in August. Commercial planning led the decline, falling 8.7 percent, while institutional planning partially offset it with a gain of 7.3 percent. In general, commercial planning has seen a steep rise this year as large office building projects entered the planning cycle, said Dodge Analytics.



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Advanced High Strength—Wood?

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 09:56

The "woodie" automobile, popular in the 1940s and '50s, may be on its way back, but in a seriously different mode.

Japanese researchers are developing the latest challenge to automotive steel, a super-strength, lightweight product that uses wood as a raw material. Cellulose nanofiber, made from wood pulp, is mixed into plastics forming a product that is one-fifth the weight of steel and five times as strong, according to researchers at Kyoto University.



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