Nonfarm payroll employment in May rebounded by an unexpected and historic 2.5 million, seasonally adjusted, following a plunge of 20.7 million in April and 1.4 million in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Friday. The unemployment rate declined to 13.3% from 14.7% in April. Construction employment in May totaled 7,043,000, an unprecedented one-month increase of 464,000, following a record one-month decrease of 995,000 in April and a decline of 65,000 in March. Construction accounted for nearly 19% of the total gain for the month even though the industry constitutes only 5% of nonfarm employment. The huge pickup may reflect the industry’s widespread receipt of Paycheck Protection Program loans and the loosening of restrictions on business activ ity in some states. Nevertheless, employment was only back to the level reached in late 2017.
Construction spending fell 2.9% from March to April at a seasonally adjusted annual rate to a five-month low of $1.346 trillion, the Census Bureau reported today. Spending declined from March in 10 of the 12 public construction categories and 10 of the 11 private nonresidential categories in Census’s press release. Overall, public construction spending slid 2.5% from March to April, private nonresidential spending slipped 1.3%, and private residential spending tumbled 4.5%. Among the three largest public segments, highway and street construction fell 5.2%; educational, -2.3%; and transportation (transit, rail, airports and ports), -1.4%. In descending order of April spending, the largest private nonresidential segments were power (electric plus oil and gas field and pipeline construction), down 1.1% from March; commercial (retail, warehouse and farm), -2.3%; manufacturing, 0.2%; and office, -0.1%.
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On today's Words With Wayne, Wayne brings some updates to you regarding AGC training, events, and the Contractor Education Series, as well as giving a shout out to this year's ENR Top 400 members.
Each September, the Idaho Business Review honors the top construction projects completed in Idaho. During a special awards event, they tell the stories and show the impact of top projects from around the state, with a focus on impact and we encourage members to submit for the awards.
Projects chosen as finalists will appear in a special magazine featuring detailed information about the projects. Winners are chosen by an expert panel of local judges based on the following criteria:
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Project cancellations continue to mount, new surveys by AGC, Industrial Info Resources and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) show. In AGC’s latest online survey, conducted May 18-21, 40% of the 742 respondents reported that a project owner had canceled a scheduled project, including 24% who had expected a start in June or later (up from 37% and 20%, respectively, in the May 4-7 survey). One-fifth of respondents reported working on additional or expanded projects, a share that changed little from the previous three surveys.
The Census Bureau on Thursday released the first round of a new emailed Small Business Pulse Survey, with 22,449 responses from April 26 to May 2, that “is intended to provide crucial weekly data on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the nation’s businesses.” Results are displayed as data visualizations that allow comparisons across industries, states and other metrics. Construction firms fared slightly better than the all-industry average in terms of adding to headcount during the week (6.6% of construction respondents vs. 4.2% overall) or shrinking it (25.9% vs.
AGC of America Chief Economist Ken Simonson releases the AGC Caronavirus Survey Results in the following playlist:
The first impacts of the pandemic on construction spending showed up in the Census Bureau’s data for March, posted on Friday. Although total spending put in place increased 0.9% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate from February and 4.7% from March 2019, the increase was concentrated in the volatile residential improvements segment, which jumped by $17 billion (10%) over the month. All other categories—public, private nonresidential and new residential construction—slipped by a combined 0.5% for the month. Notably, spending declined from February in 10 of the 11 private nonresidential categories in Census’s press release. The exception was communication construction, which edged up 0.3%, possibly reflecting spending on facilities to meet demand for better connectivity for home-based work, education and entertainment.