Some Ups, Some Downs for Glass-Related Construction in December

The value of nonresidential contract glazier activity in the U.S. finished 2019 at a modestly higher level than the end of 2018, according to Key Media & Research (KMR).

Nonresidential construction increased 4.4% in December 2019 compared to December 2018, even as it decreased by 1.2% from November 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. When adjusted with KMR’s industry-focused models, the value of nonresidential glass- and glazing-related activity edged up by 0.8% year-over-year despite a 2% dip on a monthly basis.

When factoring in multifamily construction, glass and glazing activity decreased 0.5% for the year and 2.4% for the month.

Commercial Glazing Activity

Contract glaziers saw a 0.8% increase in the value of commercial work from December 2018 to December 2019. However, commercial activity decreased 2.2% from October to November.

The office segment improved 4.8% year-over-year and was down 1% on a monthly basis, while lodging saw a yearly decline of 3.97% and a month-over-month dip of 3.3%. The other major glass-relevant “commercial” subsector, which includes retail, declined yearly and monthly by 4% and 2.9%, respectively.

Institutional Glazing Activity

Institutional building was slightly more positive. Glazing contractors saw a bump of 1.4% in this type of work in December 2019 compared to December 2018 and a dip of 1.7% from a month ago.

The largest subsector in this category, educational building, increased 1.2% for the year and decreased 2% for the month. Healthcare, the second most relevant institutional segment to the glass and glazing industry, saw a yearly increase of 1% and a monthly decline of 1.4%.

Industry Employment

Employment in the industry continues to increase. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors, which include glaziers and ironworkers, saw a 3% increase in employment in December from a year ago, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Average hourly earnings in construction are up 2.5% 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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