Nonresidential architectural glass and glazing activity was down in May compared to the same month a year ago. Spending in this segment dipped by nearly 10% year-over-year on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, according to Key Media & Research (KMR), a leading information provider to the glass industry.

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

Nonresidential construction spending declined at a notable rate in all major categories relevant to architectural glass.

Commercial glazing activity fell 7.6% as hotel construction recorded another significant decline of over 23%, while the office category was down 8.5%. The “other” commercial category saw a dip of just over 3%.

For the first time in many months, the institutional segment of glass-related construction activity fared even worse than commercial, dropping by nearly 12% year-over-year.

The educational category was down by just over 15%, and healthcare building declined 1.5%. Public safety, which had been a massive area of growth for more than a year, has experienced a sort of correction, pulling back by nearly 40% in May 2020 versus May 2021.

The across-the-board declines are likely the result of a pullback in construction starts last year due to the pandemic-induced recession, as glass and glazing-related construction spending tends to lag construction starts. On the bright side, a bounce-back in construction starts for 2021 should mean bidding activity and backlog among contract glaziers are headed in a positive direction in the coming months.

Nick St. Denis is the director of research for Key Media & Research, parent company of USGlass magazine and USGNN™. For more detailed insights, subscribe to his free quarterly glass and glazing update HERE.