Institutional Glazing Activity Strengthens as Commercial Weakens

Contract glazier activity was down both monthly and yearly in October, according to Key Media & Research (KMR) analysis of recent government data.

Nonresidential building in the U.S. decreased 0.7% from September 2019 to October 2019 but increased 1.4% from a year ago on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. However, when adjusted with KMR’s industry-focused models, the value of nonresidential glass- and glazing-related work declined a slight 0.3% for the month and saw a 1.9% dip year-over-year.

When factoring in multifamily construction, glass and glazing activity fell 0.4% for the month and 2.3% for the year.

Commercial Glazing Activity

Contract glaziers saw a notable drop in activity on the commercial side of nonresidential construction, with the value of ongoing work decreasing 1% from September to October and 5.6% from October 2018 to the same month this year.

The office segment barely declined by 0.1% month-over-month and increased 3.0% year-over-year. Lodging recorded a 1% decline from the previous month but was still up 0.4% from a year ago. The other major glass-relevant “commercial” subsector, which includes retail, witnessed a 2.4% dip from September to October and a large 16.3% decline in October 2019 compared to October 2018.

Institutional Glazing Activity

Institutional building continues to be more stable. Glazing contractors saw an uptick of 0.6% in this type of work in October compared to September and a 2.8% bump from the same time a year ago.

The largest subsector in this category, educational building, increased 1.6% for the month and 4% for the year. Healthcare, the second most relevant institutional segment to the glass and glazing industry, saw a monthly decline of 0.6% and a yearly increase of 1.2%.

Industry Employment

Employment in the industry continues to increase, as has been the general trend for much of the past decade. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors, which include glaziers and ironworkers, saw a 3.4% bump in employment in November from a year ago, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Average hourly earnings in construction are up 2.7% from the same time last year.

Nick St. Denis is the director of research for Key Media & Research, parent company of USGlass magazine.

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