Spending in glass- and glazing-related construction was higher in April 2019 than a year ago, according to Key Media & Research (KMR) analysis of recent government data.

KMR estimates the value of work by glazing contractors in nonresidential building was up 3.7% on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate. Nonresidential construction as a whole increased 6.4% over the same span.

While the near-4% uptick in glass and glazing spending is a solid number, it represents a slower growth rate than overall nonresidential construction. This is because a handful of segments that use little or no glass, such as water supply and highway/street, saw significant increases year-over-year and outpaced those that affect our industry the most.

The glassy office sector continues to be a strong performer, as construction in this segment has increased 9.5% from a year ago. Lodging is up 0.9%, and the other “commercial” category, which includes retail, pulled back 6.7%.

As we suspected at the beginning of the year, the institutional grouping has become the more stable one as commercial shows more volatility. On the institutional side, both educational and healthcare recorded year-over-year increases of 6.8% and 3.2%, respectively. Transportation was up 10%.

Residential construction dipped 11.2% from April 2018 to April 2019.

The recently released employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests the glass and glazing industry continues to add jobs. According to the BLS, nonresidential specialty trades contractors, which include glaziers, increased employment by 4% from May 2018 to May 2019. Hourly earnings in construction are also up by 3.2%.

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