AGC data summary: October 17-20, 2023

AGC data summary: October 17-20, 2023

Seasonally adjusted employment in construction rose from September 2022 to September 2023 in 43 states and the District of Columbia and fell in seven states, according to an AGC analysis of data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today. Texas again added the most construction jobs (19,900, or 2.5%), followed again by California (14,200, 1.5%) and Ohio (12,700, 5.4%). Wyoming had the largest increase (11%, 2,300 jobs), followed by Arkansas (10%, 6,400) and West Virginia (9.3%, 2,800). Missouri again lost the most jobs (-6,500 jobs, -4.6%), followed again by Colorado (-4,200, -2.3%) and North Dakota (-1,400, -5.4%). The largest losses again occurred in North Dakota, Missouri, and Colorado. Construction employment rose in September in 28 states and D.C., fell in 21 states, and was flat in New Hampshire. Oregon added the most jobs during the month (3,200, 2.6%), followed by Tennessee (2,600, 1.7%), California (2,200, 0.2%), and Oklahoma (2,000, 2.4%). Rhode Island had the largest increase (2.8%, 600 jobs), followed by Oregon, Oklahoma and Iowa (2.2%, 1,800 jobs). (For D.C., Delaware, and Hawaii, which have few mining or logging jobs, BLS publications combined the totals with construction; the AGC treats the changes as all from construction.)

The value of construction in current dollars (unadjusted for inflation) fell 26% from September 2022 to last month, data firm ConstructConnect reported today. Non-residential building construction starts fell by 34%, with the largest component – ​​institutional construction – rising by 0.9%, commercial construction falling by 21%, and industrial (manufacturing) construction falling by 76%. Engineering (civil) starts were down 11%, roads/highways were down 32%, energy and miscellaneous civil services were up 321%, water/sewer was down 9.3%, bridges were down 49%, and dams/marine were down 5.1. %, and airports decreased by 40%.

Total construction work in current dollars fell 6% in the August-September period at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, Dodge Construction Network reported Wednesday. Non-construction starts were down 9%, highway and bridge starts were down 15%, environmental general works were down 29%, while miscellaneous non-construction starts were up 4%, and utility/gas plants were up 14% . Nonresidential construction starts fell 9%. “Commercial starts were up 6% due to a stronger data center workforce (classified as an office structure in Dodge’s database) and retail. Institutional starts were down 8% in September despite good gains in education starts, and manufacturing starts were down 13% Residential building construction declined 6%. Single-family starts rose 1%, while multifamily starts lost 17%.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported Wednesday that the Architectural Billing Index (ABI) posted a score of 44.8, seasonally adjusted, in September, the lowest reading since August 2020 and down from 48.1 in August. The ABI is derived from the share of responding architecture firms that reported an increase in billings during the previous month minus the share that reported a decrease in billings, which is presented on a scale from 0 to 100. Therefore, any score below 50 means that more of businesses reported lower billings compared to the previous month. The AIA describes the index as “a leading economic indicator that leads non-residential construction activity by approximately 9-12 months.” “The September ABI result reflects a marked decline in business conditions at architecture firms, with the largest notable decline since the peak of the pandemic,” said Kermit Baker, chief economist at AIA. “While more firms reported a decline in invoices, the report also shows hesitation among clients to commit to new projects as newly signed design contracts decline. As a result, backlogs at architecture firms fell to 6.5 months on average in the third quarter , the lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2021. Readings for practice specialties were mixed (based on three-month averages): Institutional, 50.1 (up from 49.7 in August); Mixed Practice, 46.2 (down from 46.7); Commercial/Industrial, 45.0 (down from 48.3); Residential (mainly multifamily), 43.5 (up from 43.4). The New Design Contracts Index fell from 47.9 in August to 46.2.

The Census Bureau reported Wednesday that housing starts (units) in September rose 7.0% from August but fell 7.2% year-over-year (year-over-year) at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. Single-family starts increased by 3.2% and 8.6%, respectively. Multifamily homes (five or more units) jumped 17% during the month but fell 31% year over year. Housing permits decreased by 4.4% during the month and 7.2% on an annual basis. Single-family permits rose for the eighth month in a row, by 1.8% from August and 12% on an annual basis. Multifamily permits decreased by 14% and 32%, respectively. There were 986,000 multifamily units under construction, just 7,000 units below the August average and 15,000 units below July, the highest rate in the chain’s 54-year history.

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