Contract Glazier Activity Eases at Start of Q2

Architectural glass- and glazing-related spending in nonresidential construction was down in April, according to Key Media & Research (KMR), a glass-industry research firm. The value of activity decreased 1.7% compared to March and 0.5% versus the same time a year ago, at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate.

KMR’s glass and glazing activity figures are developed from the U.S. Census Bureau’s monthly construction spending report, with weighting and models applied to industry-relevant subsectors.

Overall nonresidential construction, according to the Census Bureau, saw a decline of 1.8% month-over-month but still increased 0.9% year-over-year.


In April, overall commercial glass and glazing spending declined 1.2% for the month but was up 0.8% for the year.

Every commercial segment important to the glass industry—including office, lodging and the general “commercial” category that encompasses retail—was down from March to April. Year-over-year, lodging in particular saw a significant dip of more than 12%, though the other commercial segments were relatively stable.


The overall value of institutional glass and glazing work fell 2.4% from March to April and 1.9% from April 2019.

Like commercial, the most relevant glass sectors within institutional construction—namely healthcare and educational—declined month-over-month. And while healthcare did in fact increase from April 2019 to April 2020, educational building continued to decline. One very bright spot was public safety building, which was up by more than 35% this April compared to last April.

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

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