U.S. construction starts, excluding residential, totaled $200 billion the first eight months of 2015, a 1.8% drop from a year earlier, according to a report from CMD Group.
Specifically, commercial (retail, hotel/motel, office, warehouses) is down 0.7%, industrial/manufacturing is up 46.6%, institutional (religious, medical, educational) is down 3.5%, and heavy engineering (airport, roads, bridges, water, sewage) is down 6.3%.
Also, total construction employment increased by 3,000 jobs in August, after a climb of 7,000 in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says. There are 219,000 more construction jobs compared to a year ago, and 113,000 more since the start of 2015. Construction’s leap of 3.6% in employment was the best of all major industries. The non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rate was 6.1% in August, compared to 7.7% a year ago.
In August, for the time since September 2013, month-to-month employment in architectural and engineering services declined 0.3%, although year-over-year performance stayed strong at 3%.
Meanwhile, in the Portland Cement Association’s monthly market update, Edward Sullivan, PCA group vice president and chief economist, says second quarter GDP growth of 2.3% is “disappointing, but was stronger that first quarter growth.” Also, the entire U.S. economy added 225,000 jobs in August, which is more than expected with GDP of only 2.3%.
Overall, consumers are getting more confident, and banks are getting stronger. “There are several other issues where the economy appears to be gaining its footing,” Sullivan says.
See a video of Sullivan’s presentation below or click here for more information.