US Economist: Bernie Markstein

Reed Construction Data US Chief Economist Bernie Markstein discusses how current developments in the US economic environment will bring opportunities and challenges for designers, contractors, and materials and services providers.

Bernie Markstein's Articles

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    ECONOMIC NUGGETS – July 1, 2014

    An article from Reed Construction Data, the resource construction industry professionals rely on to help with decision making. Congress passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which the President signed into law. The act provides for badly needed improvements to existing p...

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    New Residential Construction Spending Extends...

    Overview of most recent construction residential spending data from the Census Bureau (through April 2014) and forecast for residential construction spending categories through 2015 Note: Tables referenced in this article can be found at the bottom of this post New residential construction sp...

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    Heavy Engineering Construction Stumbles in April

    Overview of most recent construction heavy engineering (non-building) spending data from the Census Bureau (through April 2014) and forecast for heavy engineering (non-building) construction spending categories through 2015 Note: Tables referenced in this article can be found at the bottom of th...

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    Nonresidential Building Construction Finally...

    Overview of most recent construction nonresidential building spending data from the Census Bureau (through April 2014) and forecast for nonresidential building construction spending categories through 2015 Note: Tables referenced in this article can be found at the bottom of this post Followi...

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    Construction Spending Struggles Ahead in April

    Overview of most recent construction spending data (through April 2014) and forecast for construction spending through 2015 Note: Tables referenced in this article can be found at the bottom of this post Total Construction Spending and its Major Components Based on the latest construct...

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    Nonresidential Construction Starts Rebound in May

    Reed Construction Data announced today the value of May construction starts, excluding residential contracts, increased 5.9% to $23.9 billion after falling 4.7% in April. Starts were up 10.8% from May 2013. Year-to-date starts, which totaled $106.1 billion, were 2.6% higher than the same period in...

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    Fixed the port, time to fix the road: Motoring...

    Every now and again the Washington politicians set their differences aside and do what is right for the country. Recently, they did so by passing the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which was signed into law by the President. The law provides for badly needed improvements to exi...

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    Nonresidential construction materials inflation...

    Note: Tables referenced in this article can be found at the bottom of this post Overview The increase in prices for inputs used in nonresidential construction in April was up a bit from March. Among items with large price increases were dimension stone, cement, insulation materials, a...

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    Economic Nuggets – June 4, 2014

    Economic nuggets from the past two weeks, news headlines and industry publications The second estimate of first quarter 2014 real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) growth was revised from +0.1% to -1.0% at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR), graphic evidence of the advers...

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    New Residential Construction Spending Marks Two...

    Overview of most recent construction residential spending data from the Census Bureau (through March 2014) and forecast for residential construction spending categories through 2015 Note: Tables referenced in this article can be found at the bottom of this post New residential construction sp...

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    Heavy Engineering Construction Moves Ahead in...

    Overview of most recent construction heavy engineering (non-building) spending data from the Census Bureau (through March 2014) and forecast for heavy engineering (non-building) construction spending categories through 2015 Note: Tables referenced in this article can be found at the bottom of th...

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    Nonresidential Building Construction Continues...

    Overview of most recent construction nonresidential building spending data from the Census Bureau (through March 2014) and forecast for nonresidential building construction spending categories through 2015 Note: Tables referenced in this article can be found at the bottom of this post Nonresi...

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    A Difficult First Quarter for Construction...

    Overview of most recent construction spending data (through March 2014) and forecast for construction spending through 2015 Note: Tables referenced in this article can be found at the bottom of this post Total Construction Spending and its Major Components This year's unusual...

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    ECONOMIC NUGGETS – April 2, 2014

    Economic nuggets from the past two weeks/ news headlines and industry publications.   Janet Yellen, the new chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, survived her first press conference. She learned the hard way the weight her words carry when asked when the Fed was l...

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    Construction Spending Ekes Out a Small Gain in...

    The U.S. Census Bureau reported that total construction spending edged up 0.1% in January to $943.1 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). December’s spending number was revised up by $11.4 billion, 1.2% of the previously reported number. As a result, December’s monthly increase was re...

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    Heavy Engineering Construction Moves Forward in...

    Heavy engineering (non-building) construction spending started the year with a 0.4% gain on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis after surging 3.4% in December. Although November spending was revised down by $2.1 billion (0.8% of previously reported spending), December spending was revised up by $4.9 bi...

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    Nonresidential Building Construction Continues...

    Nonresidential building construction spending fell 1.0% at a seasonally adjusted (SA) rate in January following a 1.3% drop in December. November spending was revised down by $3.0 billion, 1.0% of the previously reported spending number. This was partially offset by an upward revision in December of...

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    New Residential Construction Continues to Move...

    New residential construction spending continued on its upward trajectory, rising 1.7% on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis in January after advancing 2.5% in December. January marked 28 months in a row that spending increased. New residential construction spending continued on its upward trajectory...

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    Nonresidential Construction Starts Down for the...

    Reed Construction Data announced today that the value of February construction starts, excluding residential contracts, dropped 15.6% to $15.9 billion after falling 13.7% in January. This was the lowest value for starts since February 2012’s $14.0 billion and marked the third consecutive monthly dec...

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    Nonresidential Construction Materials Prices...

    Prices for inputs used in nonresidential construction accelerated their rise in January. Among items with large price increases were cement, natural gas, iron and steel, copper, and architectural metalwork. Diesel fuel, asphalt, nonferrous pipe and tube, and construction equipment rental and leasing...

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    ECONOMIC NUGGETS – March 7, 2014

    Economic nuggets from the past two weeks/' news headlines and industry publications. Congress passed, and the president signed into law, legislation suspending the debt ceiling through March 15, 2015, which removes one of the huge potential stumbling blocks for the economy. The nation will conti...

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    Outlook for Construction Spending Better than...

    The U.S. Census Bureau reported that total construction spending edged up 0.1% in December to $930.5 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) after advancing 0.8% in November. For the year, construction spending increased 4.8%.   Total Construction Spending and its Major Components ...

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    Heavy Engineering Construction Ends a Bad Year...

    Heavy engineering (non-building) construction spending advanced 0.7% on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis in December following an increase of 0.4% in November. For the year, spending fell 3.3%. Heavy engineering (non-building) construction spending advanced 0.7% on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis...

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    Nonresidential Building Construction Ends the...

    Nonresidential building construction spending plummeted 3.1% at a seasonally adjusted (SA) rate in December after rising 0.9% in November. No doubt, bad weather across much of the nation accounts for the December drop. All the major sub-categories for nonresidential building construction fell in Dec...

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    New Residential Construction Completes a Second...

    New residential construction spending has been growing for 27 consecutive months. In December, spending rose a healthy 2.6% on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis following a 1.8% increase in November. For the year, spending was up 28.9% after increasing 22.1% in 2012. New residential construction sp...

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    Nonresidential Construction Materials Prices...

    Prices for inputs used in nonresidential construction reversed two months of decline and inched up in December. Price increases in energy (except for natural gas prices) and most other energy related materials prices were largely offset by decreases in copper, softwood plywood, and architectural met...

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    ECONOMIC NUGGETS – February 7, 2014

    Economic nuggets from the past two weeks/' news headlines and industry publications. Congress passed and the president signed into law a $1.1 trillion appropriations bill, funding federal government operations for the current fiscal year (through September 30) Federal debt is now approaching ...

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    Construction Spending Moves Higher in November

    The U.S. Census Bureau reported that total construction spending rose 1.0% in November to $934.4 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) after increasing 0.9% in October. Year-to-date not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction spending was 5.0% higher than the same period in 2012.   ...

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    Heavy Engineering Construction — Mixed Results...

    Heavy engineering (non-building) construction spending eked out a small gain of 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis in November after falling 1.1% in October. Year-to-date not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction spending was down 2.3% from the same period in 2012. September and October spend...

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    Nonresidential Building Construction Advances...

    Nonresidential building construction spending rose 0.8% at a seasonally adjusted (SA) rate in November following a 4.2% surge in October. On a year-to-date not seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, nonresidential building construction spending was almost unchanged (down 0.1%) from the same period in 2012...

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    New Residential Construction Spending Back on...

    Following a slowdown in growth for new residential construction spending in October—up 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis, November construction spending turned in a more respectable increase, up 1.4%. On a year-to-date NSA basis, new residential construction spending was up 29.6% from the sam...

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    Construction Starts End the Year on a Sour Note

    Reed Construction Data announced today that the value of December construction starts, excluding residential contracts, plunged 12.1% to $22.5 billion after surging 15.3% in November. Since the starts data are not seasonally adjusted (NSA), caution should be used in analyzing monthly movements. Year...

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    Nonresidential Construction Materials Prices...

    Prices for inputs used in nonresidential construction were down for the second month in a row. Most of the decrease in November can be traced to reductions in cement, gypsum, and energy (except for natural gas prices, which rose) and energy related materials prices. The price decline was partially o...

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    ECONOMIC NUGGETS – January 7, 2014

    Economic nuggets from the past two weeks/' news headlines and industry publications. Congress passed and the president signed into law a budget agreement through fiscal year 2015 (until October 1, 2015), clearing the way for funding federal government operations. Appropriation bills must be pass...

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    Construction Spending Improves in October

    The U.S. Census Bureau reported that total construction spending advanced 0.8% in October to $908.4 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). Year-to-date not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction spending was 5.0% higher than the same period in 2012.   Total Construction Spending a...

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    Heavy Engineering Construction — a Difficult...

    Heavy engineering (non-building) construction spending fell 0.7% on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis in October after slipping 0.1% in September. Year-to-date not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction spending was 0.5% lower than the same period in 2012. July and August spending were revised up $1....

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    Nonresidential Building Construction — a...

    Nonresidential building construction spending shook off September’s 2.4% fall at a seasonally adjusted (SA) rate, jumping 3.7% in October. On a year-to-date not seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, nonresidential building construction spending was 1.4% lower than the same period in 2012. The July and Au...

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    New Residential Construction Spending Flat in...

    For the first time in two years, October new residential construction spending did not increase, unchanged on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis from September, after rising a modest 0.3% in September. For the first time in two years, October new residential construction spending did not increase, u...

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    November Construction Starts Turn in a Solid...

    Reed Construction Data announced today that the value of November construction starts, excluding residential contracts, rose a solid 12.5% to $25.0 billion after increasing 5.0% in October. Since the starts data are not seasonally adjusted (NSA), caution should be used in analyzing monthly movements...

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    ECONOMIC NUGGETS – December 5, 2013

    Economic nuggets from the past two weeks/' news headlines and industry publications. Many government agencies that collect, process, and release data are still in the process of catching up following the federal government shutdown. By January, most data releases will be back to a normal schedul...