Construction Spending and Employment Numbers Remain Up

The end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 saw an increase in construction in glass-laden building sectors and an increase in employment, according to the latest reports from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In December, office construction spending increased by 3.4 percent compared to November on a seasonally adjusted annual rate, though it was down 2.8 percent from December 2016.

Also on the commercial side, lodging recorded monthly and yearly increases of 3.2 percent and 4.8 percent respectively, while the other commercial category ticked up 1.8 percent and 5.1 percent by the same measures.

Institutional construction was led by the educational category, which saw upticks of 2.1 percent and 6.6 percent monthly and yearly, respectively. Healthcare building also performed well with a 0.4-percent increase month-over-month and a 6.3-percent jump year-over-year.

New multifamily building recorded a 2.6-percent increase from the previous month and a 4.6-percent jump from the previous year.

The overall nonresidential numbers were mostly flat, with a slight 0.8-percent increase for the month and 0.1-percent bump for the year. However, these numbers were dragged down by non-glass related segments such as power, water supply and manufacturing.

Meanwhile, as the construction spending numbers increase, firms are trying to find qualified labor to perform the work. In the latest employment report, the nonresidential specialty trade contractors and nonresidential building categories—which include glaziers, iron workers and building exterior contractors—saw job increases by three of four measures.

Nonresidential specialty trade contractors increased employment by 3.8 percent from January 2017 to January 2018, with a 0.5-percent uptick from December 2017 to the next month. Nonresidential building, while experiencing a slight 0.3-percent dip month-over-month, added jobs at a 2.4-percent clip year-over-year.

The national construction industry as a whole saw a 3.3-percent increase in employment for the month and year, with both residential specialty trade contractors and residential building contractors also adding jobs on a monthly and yearly basis.

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