Construction Confidence in New Business, Revenue Rattled in Second Quarter

Many construction jobs are still deemed essential during this time of economic uncertainty; however, that doesn't mean the industry is thriving. According to the latest results from the USG and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index (CCI), contractors' confidence in both new business and revenue expectations saw a significant declin...
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Surprise Decline in May Construction Spending

There was a surprise in the May construction spending numbers after the industry was one of the first to reopen and rebound from the pandemic. Wells Fargo Securities reported spending has declined nearly 6% since it peaked in February. Announced earlier this week, construction spending dropped 2.1% in May to a seasonally adjusted rate of $1,356.4 b...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for June 29, 2020

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM EconomistShort Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyBetter News, but Not GreatThere will be some new data releases this week, and they will definitely provide some better news than has been the case lately. At the same time, they will reveal how far the economy has declined and how tough it will be to get back on track. The Pur...
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New Home Sales Exceed Projections in May

New single-family home sales in the U.S. are on the rise. According to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development, sales increased 16.6% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 676,000. This is better than expected as MarketWatch reported analysts predicted a rate of 650,000, and Reuters' economists forecasted sales wo...
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Housing Starts See Modest Rebound in May

U.S. housing starts have started to rebound; however, they are still well below the data from a year ago. Housing starts increased 4.3% in May, according to this week's announcement from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. Yet, this is 23.2% below May 2019. Housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 974,000 ...
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Import Prices Rebound After Historic Fall

A month after their worst fall in more than five years, import prices have rebounded to their best month in over a year. U.S. imports increased 1% in May, according to a release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Much of the increase is due to the large jump in fuel import prices, which shot up 20.5% in May. That was the largest increase since th...
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April Construction Spending Slips; Better than Expected

Construction spending is still being impacted by COVID-19; however, outlays fell slightly lower than expected in April. Despite the better-than-expected fall, April's 2.9% drop was the worst since October 2018, according to Reuters. However, spending in April was 3% higher than April 2019, according to a release from the Census Bureau. Construction...
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Pending Home Sales Plummet in April

Pending home sales is the latest sector to see record drops from the impacts of COVID-19. The Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) declined 21.8% in April. All regions saw a month-to-month and year-over-year decline in pending home sales. "With nearly all states under stay-at-home orders in April, it is no surpri...
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Existing Home Sales Continue Decline in April

COVID-19 continues to impact existing home sales, resulting in the second-straight month of declines. The National Association of Realtors announced May 21 that sales dropped 17.8% in April from March, and sales are down roughly the same amount from April 2019. The steep fall is the largest month-over-month decline since July 2010. "The economic lo...
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Retail Sales Tumble in April

Retail sales in the U.S. have tumbled across the board due to the impacts of COVID-19. The Census Bureau announced May 15 that retail and food services sales declined 16.4% in April from March, and sales are down 21.6% from April 2019. Economists predicted sales to drop more than 12%, states CNBC. Much of the despair was in clothing and clothing ac...
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COVID-19 Affects Nonresidential Building

COVID-19 continues to impact industries left and right and is now hitting the nonresidential building sector. The Dodge Momentum Index declined 6% in April, according to a release from Dodge Data & Analytics. The index measures the initial report of nonresidential projects in planning. Despite the significant drop, the full impact of COVID-19 h...
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NACM's April CMI Sinks Deeper into Contraction

To say the Credit Managers' Index (CMI) from NACM is "down in the dumps" is an understatement, yet there are still a few positives in April's CMI. While not bottoming out at the record low seen during the Great Recession, the current combined score of 40.6 is uncomfortably low. January 2009 is the CMI's all-time low with a score of 39.7. "There has...
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New Home Sales Plummet in March

New single-family home sales have finally felt the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Sales plummeted 15.4% in March from the revised February rate, according to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. Sales are also 9.5% below March 2019. "Despite the sharp decline in new home sales this month, the first quarter of 2020...
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Existing-Home Sales Decline Due to COVID-19

The coronavirus has made its mark on the world economy; now it has hit U.S. existing-home sales. Sales declined 8.5% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). However, year-over-year sales are up 0.8% since March 2019. This is the ninth straight month of YOY sales increas...
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March Housing Starts Impacted by Coronavirus

U.S. housing starts have been greatly impacted by the outbreak of the coronavirus. Privately owned housing starts fell more than 22% in March to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.216 million, according to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. The staggering drop was the largest monthly step-back since March 1984, states R...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 10, 2020

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM EconomistShort Items of Interest—US Economy17 Million Unemployed It should come as no shock to anyone that the unemployment rate has become staggering. That is what would have been anticipated when a lockdown order was issued that essentially closed one-third of the U.S. business community. What makes the shutdown that m...
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Construction Input Prices Slip in March

Construction input prices are on the decline, yet the full impact of the coronavirus outbreak has not been accounted for since the Producer Price Index (PPI) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics pricing date on March 10. Input prices dropped 1% in March, according to the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). "Deflationary pressures are weighing...
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Construction Spending Dips Ahead of Outbreak Impact

As the world waits to see how much of an impact the coronavirus will have on March data points, U.S. construction spending took a slight dip in February. Construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,366.7 billion, which is down 1.3% from January, states the Census Bureau. However, February's spending is 6% higher than Februa...
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March CMI Plummets as Outbreak Continues

Not much good will come by looking at the raw numbers of the March Credit Managers' Index from NACM, yet it's not all bad. Despite a massive 7.2-point combined decline in March, mostly due to only a couple factors, there are several places to find some hidden gold. The coronavirus has hampered the global economy for weeks, but it is only now actual...
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New Home Sales Dip; Still Strong

New single-family home sales are on the decline; however, new data from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development does not include the recent impacts of the coronavirus. The joint announcement states February's seasonally adjusted rate is 765,000, down 4.4% from January, but 14.3% ahead of February 2019. Economists predicted...
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