Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

AUG 2017

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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Page 45 of 71

46 LC DBM An analysis by the Associated Builders and Contractors of the latest employment num - bers showed that the construction industry employed 192,000 more workers than the same time last year, and construction unem - ployment rates were down in 24 states on a year-over-year basis. Vermont led the pack with a rate of 1.5% followed by Iowa (2.2%), Idaho (2.3%), Colorado (2.4%), Indiana and North Dakota (2.5%). New Mexico (10.7%) and Alaska (10.5%) were the only states still in double figures. Construction Employment Continues to Rebound The Q2 North American quarterly cost report from consultancy firm Rider Levett Bucknall predicts that although the U.S. construction put-in-place in the second quar - ter ended below the revised estimate, the overall construction industry should close out 2017 in good shape. Cited as reasons for this were that the unemployment rate is steady and the Architecture Billings Index score, which indicates future non-residential building activity, is above the 2016 average. The latest construction spending total essen - tially equaled the numbers from the previous month although public construction grew by 2.1 percent. Even with the flat total amount, an upward revision to last month's sum helps ease concerns about the most recent numbers. And one area that showed very positive results was spending on public health care construction, which is up 13.7 percent over the year. At 54.2, June's Archi - tecture Billings Index marked the fifth straight month of gains in con - struction design services billings, with the resi - dential component of the index posting a 12-month high. All of the four re - gional scores were above 50 led by the South's 54.8. The Northeast had the most impressive gain – from 46.5 to 51.5. The performance of the private residential sector looks to be solid through the end of the year. Positive Trend in U.S. Construction Forecast to Continue Through Years-end Construction Spending Matches Last Month ABI in June Delivers Best Score in Second Quarter In the Q2 update to its Economic Outlook, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation revised its forecast for this year's equipment and software investment growth from 2.8 percent to 3.6 percent. The report predicts that investment "will be driven by overall improvements in business confidence and a more positive outlook for the industrial sector," which got the year off to a solid start after a tame 2016. Also noted was, in spite of slow wage growth, the labor market remains strong, consumer confidence is high and most equipment verticals, including construction machinery, should expand this year. The Dodge Momentum Index, which measures the first planning stages of nonresidential projects, rose 1.1 percent in June thanks to a solid gain of 4.8 percent in the institutional sector. The Wells Fargo Securities Economics Group predicts that although minimal, private "nonresidential construction spending should continue to grow this year." Even with the institutional component's strong showing - it is up almost 12 percent relative to last year - and the 13 percent gain in year-to-date spending on commercial and institutional projects combined, the Wells Fargo Group cautions, "the pace is moderating from its breakneck rate registered since 2012." Predicted Equipment and Software Growth Bumped Up Planning, Spending on Nonresidential Building Posts Gains

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