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Archive for February, 2013

02-26-13 Supply of existing home sales falls again

Posted by nahetsblog on February 27, 2013

GOOD NEWS FOR HOUSING MARKET…..FINALLY

Across the country the supply of existing home sales has fallen seven straight months,hitting an eight year low in January,2013. Competing bids for the same house is driving up prices especially in the west.But,many homeowners still cannot afford to sell,28% are still so far underwater that that if they sold their house their would not be enough money to pay closing costs and make a down payment on their next house.At the rate of current increases it is going to be four more years before everyone has their head above water.The fourth quarter of 12 showed a healthy 7.3% increase with half the cities at 9.0%. Phoenix,AZ led the way with 23% increase followed by San Fransisco,CA at 14.4% and Detroit MI at 13.5% and Las Vegas, NV in fourth place with 12.3 %

New home construction is the best shot in the arm our economy could hope for,best estimates are for every two homes built creates one full time job,my guess is that it only takes one and a half new homes built to create one full time job.There are many different people and businesses that benefit when a new home is built,during the life of that home there is upkeep,repairs,replacement and maintenance that generates jobs that you wont find in apartments.When a tract of land is being developed for houses the heavy equipment operators are many times recent graduates from heavy equipment operators schools or some other heavy equipment operators program,that is one of the benefits that many times is overlooked when economists estimate the benefits of new home construction.

Construction Spending Ends 2012 on a High Note

02/26/2013 by Bernard M. Markstein

Total Construction Spending and its Major Components
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that total construction spending advanced 0.9% in December to $885.0 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), its ninth consecutive monthly increase. Spending numbers for October and November were revised up $8.0 billion and $11.0 billion, respectively. The November revision changed a 0.3% decline into a 0.1% gain. For the year, construction spending increased 9.2% over 2011.

Nonresidential building construction rose 1.0% to $301.0 billion (SAAR) in December following a 1.4% drop in November. October spending was revised up $3.0 billion and November was revised up $2.2 billion. For the year, spending was up 5.6% from 2011.

Heavy engineering (non-building) construction spending was the one area of weakness in December, falling 0.5% to $269.4 billion (SAAR) after jumping 1.1% in November. November’s number included a $2.3 billion upward revision. Despite the cutbacks in public financing for heavy engineering projects, spending was up 7.4% for the year.

Total residential construction spending, which includes improvements, continued its upward march, increasing for the ninth consecutive month, jumping 2.1% to $314.6 billion (SAAR) in December after increasing 0.7% in November. New residential construction spending, which excludes improvements, rose a healthy 1.4% after increasing 1.6% in November. For 2012, total residential construction spending was up 15.4% from 2011 while new residential construction was up 19.6% from 2011.

Total public construction spending fell for the fourth month in a row, down a seasonally adjusted (SA) 1.4% in December after slipping 0.1% in November. For 2012, public construction spending decreased 2.7%. Total private construction spending shot up 2.0% in December, its tenth consecutive monthly increase, after rising a more modest 0.2% in November. For the year, private construction spending increased 16.1% over 2011.

U.S. Total Construction Spending
(billions of U.S. current dollars)
Current Monthly 3-Month Moving Average Year-to-Date (NSA)
Oct-12 Nov-12 Dec-12 Oct-12 Nov-12 Dec-12 Jan-11 to
Dec-11
Jan-12 to
Dec-12
New Single-family 141.5 143.7 144.8 136.5 140.5 143.4 108.2 129.2
Month-over-Month % Change 3.8% 1.5% 0.8% 3.5% 3.0% 2.0%
Year-over-year % Change (NSA) 29.7% 30.6% 29.0% -3.9% 19.4%
New Multifamily (1) 29.6 30.2 31.6 28.7 29.4 30.5 22.6 27.2
4.0% 2.2% 4.5% 2.2% 2.5% 3.6%
29.7% 30.4% 34.3% -6.1% 20.3%
New Residential (2) 171.1 173.9 176.4 165.2 170.0 173.8 130.8 156.4
3.8% 1.6% 1.4% 3.3% 2.9% 2.3%
29.7% 30.5% 29.9% -4.3% 19.6%
Residential Improvements (3) 135.1 134.3 138.2 132.1 133.8 135.8 114.9 127.0
2.2% -0.6% 2.9% 2.4% 1.3% 1.5%
16.9% 12.3% 17.4% 2.2% 10.5%
Total Residential (4) (5) 306.2 308.2 314.6 297.3 303.8 309.7 245.7 283.4
3.1% 0.7% 2.1% 2.9% 2.2% 1.9%
23.3% 22.2% 24.2% -1.4% 15.4%
Nonresidential Building 302.3 298.1 301.0 300.7 299.4 300.4 283.2 298.9
1.5% -1.4% 1.0% 0.5% -0.5% 0.4%
5.1% 1.7% -0.2% -2.5% 5.6%
Heavy Engineering (Non-Building) 267.8 270.7 269.4 266.7 268.6 269.3 249.4 267.9
0.1% 1.1% -0.5% 0.0% 0.7% 0.2%
5.3% 3.7% 0.9% -5.9% 7.4%
Total (1) 876.2 876.9 885.0 864.8 871.8 879.4 778.3 850.2
1.6% 0.1% 0.9% 1.2% 0.8% 0.9%
11.1% 8.8% 7.4% -3.3% 9.2%
Monthly levels are seasonally adjusted at annual rates (SAAR figures).
(1) New Multifamily = New Private Multifamily + New Public Multifamily – Public Improvements (estimated by Reed Economics)
(2) New Residential = New Single-family + New Multifamily
(3) Residential Improvements include remodeling, renovation and replacement work.
Number also includes RCD estimate of improvements to public housing.
(4) Total Residential = New Single-family + New Multifamily + Residential Improvements.
(5) Total may not equal the sum of its components due to rounding.
Source: Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Economy
The United States economy continues to grow at a moderate pace despite facing various hurdles, many of them created by the politicians in our nation’s capital. The most immediate hurdle to overcome is the March 1 sequestration (an across-the-board reduction in spending for most areas of federal government) unless an agreement is reached over the federal budget. There is already a drag on economic growth as various federal agencies adjust their spending in anticipation of sequestration. The negative effects of threatened spending cuts will be limited if an agreement over the budget appears near.

The other major politically created risk is the federal debt ceiling. Legislation temporarily increased the debt ceiling until May 18 when it expires. Hitting the debt ceiling would mean that the Treasury would have to delay various federal payments, including Social Security and Medicare, federal payrolls, reimbursements to contractors, tax refunds, and debt payments. Not meeting debt payments would be a technical default of U.S. government debt and undoubtedly mean a downgrade of the U.S. debt rating, with negative fallout for many U.S. companies — most notably financial institutions.

Other, though lesser risks include possible sovereign debt default by one or more European countries, one or more countries abandoning the euro or total dissolution of the euro, and a significant and prolonged increase in energy prices. In spite of all these challenges, we expect the economy to continue to grow at an acceptable, if unspectacular, rate.

On the positive side, low interest rates and the reviving housing market are providing a much needed lift to the economy.

Risks to the Economy and the Forecast
As just noted, major risks to the economy include the following:

  • Sequestration
  • Allowing the temporary increase in the federal debt ceiling to expire without a more permanent solution or another temporary increase in the ceiling (a less desirable outcome)
  • Sharp cutbacks in government spending over the near term rather than phasing them in over a few years (possibly a result of a budget agreement to prevent sequestration or an agreement to raise the debt ceiling)
  • Sovereign debt default by one or more European governments
  • One or more European governments abandoning the euro
  • A sudden, significant jump in oil prices (50% or more) for a prolonged period (two months or more)

If one or more of these risks occur then economic growth will be lower than forecasted with negative fallout for commercial construction and would increase the possibility of a recession.

The Forecast
The Reed Construction Data forecast assumes that the outlined risks do not occur. Total construction spending is forecasted to grow 8.5% this year and 9.3% in 2014.

U.S. Total Construction Spending

(billions of U.S. current dollars)

Actual Forecast
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
New Single-family 105.3 112.6 108.2 129.2 156.5 181.1
Year-over-year % Change -43.3% 6.9% -3.9% 19.4% 21.2% 15.7%
New Multifamily (1) 35.9 24.1 22.6 27.2 34.4 39.3
-30.0% -32.9% -6.0% 20.3% 26.5% 14.1%
New Residential (2) 141.2 136.7 130.8 156.4 191.0 220.3
-40.4% -3.2% -4.3% 19.6% 22.1% 15.4%
Residential Improvements (3) 112.7 112.5 114.9 127.0 143.7 155.2
-6.6% -0.2% 2.2% 10.5% 13.2% 8.0%
Total Residential (4) (5) 253.9 249.1 245.7 283.4 334.7 375.5
-29.0% -1.9% -1.4% 15.4% 18.1% 12.2%
Nonresidential Building 375.7 290.4 283.1 298.9 311.1 337.2
-14.2% -22.7% -2.5% 5.6% 4.1% 8.4%
Heavy Engineering (Non-Building) 273.5 265.0 249.4 267.9 276.6 295.1
0.5% -3.1% -5.9% 7.4% 3.2% 6.7%
Total (5) 903.2 804.6 778.2 850.2 922.4 1,007.9
-15.4% -10.9% -3.3% 9.2% 8.5% 9.3%
(1) New Multifamily = New Private Multifamily + New Public Multifamily – Public Improvements
(estimated by Reed Economics)
(2) New Residential = New Single-family + New Multifamily
(3) Residential Improvements include remodeling, renovation and replacement work.
Number also includes RCD estimate of improvements to public housing.
(4) Total Residential = New Single-family + New Multifamily + Residential Improvements.
(5) Total may not equal the sum of its components due to rounding.
Source: Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce. Forecast: Reed Construction Data.

Twenty major upcoming California and Florida construction projects – February 2013

02/21/2013

The accompanying tables show 20 of the largest upcoming California and Florida construction projects. They are all in the planning stage and are mainly new projects, but may also involve additions and/or alterations.

Shopping centers, hotels, office buildings, medical buildings, educational buildings, libraries and museums, sports and entertainment complexes, industrial projects and government buildings will all be covered on a rotating basis.

There are several reasons for highlighting upcoming large projects. Such jobs have often received a fair amount of media coverage. Therefore, people in the industry are on the lookout for when job-site work actually gets underway. And, as showcase projects, they highlight geographically where major construction projects are proceeding.

Finally, total construction activity is comprised of many small- and medium-sized projects and a limited number of large developments. But the largest projects, simply by their nature, can dramatically affect total dollar volumes. In other words, the timing and size of these projects have an exaggerated influence on market forecasts.

Ten of the largest upcoming California construction projects

Project Title and Owner/Developer Location Current
Stage
Project
Value
U.S. $
millions
FSP TRANSBAY TRANSIT CENTER PHASE 1
San Francisco Transbay Joint Powers Authority San Francisco, CA Working Drawings $4,000
SAN DIEGO USD PROPOSITION Z
San Diego Unified School District San Diego, CA Proposal $2,800
BOYLE HEIGHTS (WYVERNWOOD APARTMENTS) PHASE 1
Fifteen Group Los Angeles, CA Masterplanning $2,000
HYATT REGENCY CENTRURY PLAZA HOTEL REDEVELOPMENT & MIXED USE
Woodridge Capital LLC Los Angeles, CA Conceptual Drawings $1,500
HOLLYWOOD PARK CASINO
Hollywood Park Inc Inglewood, CA Working Drawings $1,000
MILLENNIUM HOLLYWOOD
Community Redevelpment Agency Los Angeles Hollywood, CA Conceptual Drawings $1,000
CHAFFEY JOINT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT MEASURE P
Chaffey Joint Union High School District Ontario, CA Proposal $848
WEST LA VA MEDICAL CENTER ESSENTAIL CARE TOWER & SEISMIC
US – Veterans Affairs Facilities Dept Los Angeles, CA Masterplanning $800
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS STADIUM
San Diego Chargers San Diego, CA Proposal $800
UC LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY SECOND CAMPUS
University of California Richmond, CA Proposal $718

Ten of the largest upcoming Florida construction projects

Project Title and Owner/Developer Location Current
Stage
Project
Value
U.S. $
millions
RESORTS WORLD MIAMI MIXED USE
Genting New York LLC (Resorts World Casino NYC) Miami, FL Masterplanning $3,000
FRUITVILLE RD MIXED USE
Sarasota Co-Commissioners Sarasota, FL Proposal $1,000
FRANCHISE HOTEL & CONVENTION CENTER
City of Miami Beach Miami Beach, FL Masterplanning $650
PALM BEACH COUNTY SOLID WASTE ENERGY FACILITY
Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority West Palm Beach, FL Design Development $650
ZENA TIME SHARE RESORT
Northern Stary Realty Orlando, FL Masterplanning $500
GOAA SOUTH AIRPORT APM COMPLEX
Greater Orlando Airport Authority Orlando, FL Proposal $470
RAYS BALLPARK
Tampa Bay Rays St Petersburg, FL Proposal $450
MIAMI DADE WEST WTP DORAL
Miami Dade Water & Sewer Authority Doral, FL Schematics $400
CRAWFORD DIAMOND INDUSTRIAL PARK
TerraPointe LLC Nassau County, FL Proposal $400
SOUTHGATE OFFICE TOWER & HOTEL
Trammell Crow Co Tampa, FL Masterplanning $300

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KEYSTONE XL FEBRUARY 2013

Posted by nahetsblog on February 26, 2013

ENVIRONMENTALISTS AND BIG OIL NEED TO TALK

Big oil is big because we made them that way,you,me them,us,him,her, all of us,we are big oil , our demand and their proprietary efficiency created big oil,but how else can we consume fourteen million barrels per day without big oil.Even when we complain about the high price at the pump all thirty seven countries in the European Union have higher prices than us.When we pay four dollars per gallon, most of Europe pays six.Regardless of why most Europeans pay twenty to thirty three percent more than we do.

Keystone XL oil pipeline between Alberta, Canada and the gulf coast of Texas where the big refineries are, is close to seventeen hundred miles and goes through parts of eight different states. We are talking about eight hundred fifty thousand barrels per day,that is a lot.If the thirty day spot price is above sixty five dollars than it is worth it for big oil to extract it,pipe it,and refine it.

Environmentalists have to understand that the oil from the Black Sands of Alberta is needed,this is not a desire but an absolute necessity,at current consumption levels,five years from now we will be consuming fifteen million barrels per day,all of would like to lessen our dependency on foreign oil,especially with countries where the political stability and friendship is a coin toss.The only plans that were made public had thirteen different starting points in the lower forty eight,you are talking about tens of thousands of jobs,many of these jobs are good paying jobs, not part time food service wages. A construction job of this size will need many different experts,heavy equipment operators,CDL drivers,welders,pipe fitters,bridge builders,tunnel builders,and two dozen more experts.Any CDL driver or heavy equipment operator that leaves a job to go to work on the pipeline creates an opening from the job he left,that has to be filled by an (OJT) (on-the-job) person or a graduate from a heavy equipment school,and this will apply to thousands of employees,it has been estimated that this pipeline will create between one hundred fifty and two hundred thousand new jobs.

It is going to take at least four years to complete this project,but that is a rosy estimate,others have said it could be six or seven years to finish.Regardless of how long it takes to finish we are going to need the oil than just as bad as we need it now,so the environmentalists and big oil need to talk.

Late-Year Surge in Construction Employment Fuels Optimism for 2013

Construction employment expanded in two-thirds of all U.S. states in December and in half the nation last year as the industry showed signs of emerging from a six-year slump, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data. Association officials noted that contractors responding to a recent survey expect to add more workers in 2013.

“These results show that contractors are finding work in more parts of the country than they have for many months,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Further gains appear likely but could be derailed if lawmakers do not keep debt markets operating normally.”

For 2012 as a whole, 24 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs, 24 shed workers and two — Vermont and West Virginia — had no change. Nebraska jumped to the top ranking for percentage of new construction jobs (10.1 percent, 4,100 jobs); followed by D.C. (7.3 percent, 900 jobs); Texas (6.6 percent, 36,800 jobs); Hawaii (6.5 percent, 1,800 jobs) and Washington (6.5 percent, 9,000 jobs). Texas added the most new construction jobs over the past 12 months, followed by California (24,500 jobs, 4.4 percent), Washington and Arizona.

Among states losing construction jobs during the past year, Rhode Island lost the highest percentage (-6.7 percent, -1,100 jobs), followed by Delaware (-5.8 percent, -1,100 jobs); Mississippi (-5.6 percent, -2,700 jobs) and Arkansas (-5.6 percent, -2,600 jobs). Illinois lost the most jobs (-8,600 jobs, -4.5 percent); followed by Pennsylvania (-7,700 jobs, -3.4 percent) and Florida (-16,800 jobs, -2.1 percent).

Simonson noted that 33 states and D.C. added construction jobs between November and December, while employment slipped in 16 states and held steady in Utah. Wisconsin had the largest percentage increase (5.8 percent, 4,900 jobs); followed by D.C. (3.9 percent, 500 jobs) and New Jersey (3.6 percent, 4,300 jobs). Utah had no change in construction employment over the month, while 16 states lost jobs, with Rhode Island having the steepest percentage drop (-5.6 percent, -900 jobs); followed by Montana (-4.1 percent, 1,000 jobs) and Minnesota (-3.6 percent, 3,500 jobs). Texas lost the largest number of jobs for the month (-4,100 jobs, -0.7 percent); followed by Florida (-3.500 jobs, -1.1 percent) and Minnesota.

“Construction spending has been rising for two full years but contractors have been cautious about adding workers until they knew the upturn would last,” Simonson said. “In 2013, both residential and private nonresidential construction should rise enough to offset a further slowdown in public work, and contractors will be looking for more workers.”

Association officials said the monthly construction employment gains were consistent with results of its recently released 2013 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook, where 31 percent of firms reported plans to add new workers this year compared to only 9 percent that plan to make layoffs, a net positive reading of 22 percent. Officials cautioned that construction firms still face significant headwinds, noting that most firms expect public construction activity to continue to decline and remain cautious about plans to acquire new equipment.

“There is a growing sense of optimism within the construction community that the worst is over,” said Stephen Sandherr, the association’s CEO. “At the same time, however, just because the worst is over doesn’t guarantee that conditions are going to get significantly better anytime soon, especially if Washington can’t find a way to address out-of-control entitlement spending that is making it increasingly difficult to invest in aging infrastructure and other important construction programs."

Charlotte-area construction employment up 2%

The Charlotte area was a bright spot for construction-industry employment in the Carolinas over the past year, according to a report released by the Associated General Contractors of America.

The number of construction, mining and logging jobs in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill metro increased 2 percent in the 12 months that ended in November, with 700 workers added to payrolls during that time, the report shows. The area’s total employment in the sector stood at 39,300 as of November.

However, the rest of the Carolinas continued to look for recovery.

In North Carolina, employment in the construction, mining and logging industries totaled 185,400 in November, down 5,200 jobs or 3 percent from November 2011. The same sector in South Carolina lost 700 jobs, or 1 percent of its work force, for a total of 79,100 industry workers at the end of the period. Each of the individual metro areas in the Carolinas that were listed in the report lost jobs during the year, with the exception of Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, which remained flat, and Charlotte.

Nationwide, construction employment declined in 151 of 337 metro areas between November 2011 and the same month of last year, according to the AGC. Such employment increased in 126 metro areas and was stagnant in 60, the AGC says.

“The uncertainty about 2013 federal tax and spending rates likely prompted firms in many parts of the country to hold back on hiring,” the association’s chief economist, Ken Simonson, says in the report. “Construction workers in the New York area, meanwhile, suffered as existing projects were put on hold in the weeks following Hurricane Sandy.”

Construction Employment Starting to Rebound

Though payrolls came in just below expectations, one positive take away from this morning’s data was the 30 thousand increase in construction jobs. Almost all of the increase was in residential. These are relatively well paying jobs compared to retail clerks, waiters, bartenders, and health care workers, which have led the payrolls recovery.

We’ll take 30K construction jobs over 40K retail clerk jobs. Quality matters.

The huge run in lumber futures has been signalling the nascent housing recovery and the exordium of construction hiring. Increased demand from the U.S. housing sector and China’s rebound, coupled with reduced timber production in Russia have driven lumber futures to a seven year high. This is real time leading indicator, similar to Dr. Copper, that should be on your radar.

Nevertheless, total employment in construction is still 2.2 million less than where it was at its April 2006 peak. It is one of the few sectors that has yet fully regain the jobs lost in the Great Recession.

We doubt the sector will be building the equivalent of a Cleveland, Ohio every few years as it was at the height of the bubble, but here’s to hoping the recovery in construction hiring is just beginning. !

The Great Construction Employment Mystery

Over at the Atlantic, Matthew O’Brien canvasses the blogosphere’s chart lovers to compile a list of the 34 best economic charts of the year. It’s worth a look at the whole list, but the chart I want to highlight is from Conor Sen. Here it is:

That’s damn peculiar, isn’t it? How is it that housing starts can increase steeply starting in 2011 but construction employment continues to decline? That’s the kind of thing that happens when you build a factory where robots do all the work that people used to do, but nothing like that has happened in the construction industry. Houses today are built pretty much the same way they were a decade ago: with human hands.

So what’s going on? A few months ago the Fiscal Times asked some construction industry experts about this, and they got three answers. First, the increase in housing starts hasn’t been big enough yet. Second, you have to wait a while for all the "finishers" (painters, paper hangers, tile workers, etc.) to be brought on board. Third, most of the work is in apartment buildings, which require fewer workers per unit than houses.

Answer #1 doesn’t hold water. Since the beginning of last year, housing starts have nearly doubled. That’s a lot. Answer #2 is similarly unsatisfying. Housing starts began their upward climb more than 18 months ago. That’s plenty of time to get to the finishing work. So how about Answer #3? Here’s a chart that breaks apart single-unit and multi-unit starts:

Hmmm. Single-unit structures are up by 200,000 and multi-unit starts are also up by about 200,000. The share of multi-unit starts has gone up from about 25 percent to 33 percent, but that’s not much, really. Certainly nowhere near enough to account for a decline in construction jobs. Besides, an apartment building appears to count as a single housing start, and a single apartment building requires more workers than a single house. A rising share of multi-unit starts should accelerate construction employment, not hold it back.

So what’s the answer? My guess is that it’s a statistical artifact of some kind. Something isn’t being counted right here. It’s possible that the construction industry has gotten more efficient in certain ways, but it hasn’t gotten that much more efficient. If housing starts have doubled, then one way or another, construction employment must be up too.

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construction employment

Posted by nahetsblog on February 20, 2013

Revised government data issued in early February shows the construction industry is contributing substantially to economic and employment growth in early 2013, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Arlington, Va.

Assciation officials say construction employment rose for the eighth consecutive month in January, while construction spending in December 2012 increased for the ninth month in a row. Both totals were the highest levels in more than three years.

“The new employment data show the industry lost even more jobs in the recession than previously estimated but has added almost 300,000 jobs in the past two years, including nearly 100,000 since September,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Meanwhile, the steady rise in construction spending since last March suggests contractors will be hiring even more workers in the months ahead.”

Construction firms employed 5.731 million people in January, a gain of 28,000 from December and an increase of 102,000, or 1.8 percent, from one year ago, Simonson notes. The industry unemployment rate, which is not seasonally adjusted and thus is typically high in January, fell from 17.7 percent in January 2012 to 16.1 percent last month.

Both residential and nonresidential construction added jobs for the month and year. Residential construction — building and specialty trade contractors — added 14,500 jobs in January and 53,200 (2.6 percent) over 12 months. Nonresidential construction — building, specialty trade and heavy and civil engineering firms — expanded by 13,700 employees in January and 48,900 (1.4 percent) compared to one year ago.

Construction put in place totaled $885 billion in December 2012, the most since September 2009 and a pickup of 0.9 percent from November and 7.8 percent compared with December 2011. Private residential construction spending jumped 2.2 percent for the month and 24 percent year-over-year.

Private nonresidential spending grew 1.8 percent and 7.6 percent

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