Census Pulse Survey finds modest improvements; ConstructConnect starts plunge in May

The Census Bureau on Thursday released the results of its sixth Small Business Pulse Survey, with responses from May 31 to June 6, that “is intended to provide crucial weekly data on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the nation’s businesses.” There was modest improvement in several metrics for construction firms. The share that added employees was the highest yet (11.5%, vs. 10.1% in the May 24-30 survey). For the fifth-straight week there were declines in the share with a decrease in employees (12.1% vs. 12.4% a week before) or supply-chain disruptions (31.4% vs. 33.3%). The share of construction respondents that closed a location for at least one day was unchanged at 17.8%. More construction firms than in the five previous surveys reported “little or no effect on…normal level of operations relative to one year ago” (17.1% vs. 13.5% one wee k earlier).

Jobs rebound in May but unemployment remains high after April decline in 91% of metros

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 skids in April; Census survey finds hiring rises, expectations worsen

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%.

IBR's Idaho Top Projects Submission Deadline is July 12th

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:

Spring 2020 Issue of BuildingIdaho Magazine Should Be In Your Mailbox!

Good news!  The Spring 2020 issue of BuildingIdaho magazine should be in your inbox by now.  If you are not on the mailing list to receive this FREE bi-annual magazine, you can be added by emailing Hailey Reyes at

You can also now read the digital version of the magazine by  clicking here

Would you like to submit content or recommend article topics for the next issue of BuildingIdaho?  Email Hailey at

Cancellations spread, surveys by AGC, AIA, Industrial Info find; employment falls in 49 states

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.

New Census data documents pandemic impacts; starts, ‘momentum’ index slide in April

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.