Latest News

PPI jumps in March, more metros add jobs

April 13, 2012
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
The PPI for inputs to construction industries jumped 1.4% for the month, following a 0.9% gain in February, and 3.8% over 12 months.

The producer price index for finished goods rose in March by 0.9%, not seasonally adjusted (but was flat, seasonally adjusted), and 2.8% over 12 months, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported April 12. The PPI for inputs to construction industries - a weighted average of the cost of all materials used in construction, plus items consumed by contractors such as diesel fuel - jumped 1.4% for the month, following a 0.9% gain in February, and 3.8% over 12 months.

The large monthly gain was driven by the PPIs for diesel fuel, up 3.5% in March and 6.6% over 12 months; gypsum products such as wallboard, which rose 2.2% in March following increases of 5.1% in February and 5.9% in January, bringing the 12-month change to 9.1%; and aluminum mill shapes, up 1.2% in March but down 1.8% year-over-year. Most other key materials had smaller monthly changes: copper and brass mill shapes, up 0.5% in March but down 6% since March 2011; concrete products, up 0.3% and 1.9%, respectively; asphalt paving mixtures and blocks, 0.1% and 11%; plastic construction products, -0.1% and 4.5%; and steel mill products, -0.6% and 0.4%.

PPIs for new nonresidential buildings were close to flat for the month but slightly outran materials costs over 12 months: new warehouses, 0.2% and 4.3%; offices, 0.2% and 3.9%; schools, 0.1% and 4.7%; and industrial buildings, -0.2% and 3.4%. PPIs for nonresidential building subcontractors (covering new, repair and maintenance work) were unchanged in March for plumbing contractors (and up 4.3% over 12 months); roofing contractors (3.9% year-to-year); and concrete contractors (0.9% year-to-year) and down 0.1% for electrical contractors (4.2% year-to-year).

Construction employment increases

Construction employment increased from February 2011 to February 2012 in 171 out of 337 metro areas (including divisions of larger metros) for which BLS provides data, decreased in 119 and stayed level in 47, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America released April 10. (BLS combines mining and logging with construction in most metros to avoid disclosing data about industries with few employers.) The number of areas with year-over-year construction employment increases was the largest since January 2007.

Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. added the highest percentage (33%, 1,300 combined jobs) followed by Michigan City-La Porte, Ind. (31%, 400 combined jobs). Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colo. added the most jobs (6,300 combined jobs, 10%), followed by the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. division (4,700 construction jobs, 5%); Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. (4,300 construction jobs, 10%); and Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind. (4,100 construction jobs, 12%).

Monroe, Mich. (-32%, -600 combined jobs) lost the highest percentage, followed by Springfield, Mass.-Conn. (-27%, -2,100 combined jobs) and Montgomery, Ala. (-17%, -1,000 combined jobs). The largest number of losses occurred in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. division (-5,400 construction jobs, -5%), followed by St. Louis, Mo.-Ill. (-4,200 combined jobs, -7%); and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (-4,000 construction jobs, -8%).

New nonresidential construction starts rise

The value of new nonresidential construction starts in March rose 1.4%, not seasonally adjusted, from a year earlier, Reed Construction Data reported April 12, based on data it compiled. For the first quarter of 2012 as a whole compared with January-March 2011, starts climbed 3.7%, with commercial starts soaring 39% and institutional starts rising 13%, offsetting a drop of 18% in heavy engineering starts and 48% in industrial starts.

“Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve districts indicated that the economy continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace from mid-February through late March,” the Fed reported April 11 in the latest “Beige Book,” a compilation of informal surveys of firms in each district (referenced by the name of its headquarters city). “The Philadelphia and Dallas districts indicated improvement in demand for manufacturing with ties to … housing and construction … The St. Louis and Minneapolis districts reported increases in building permits. The construction of multifamily housing units, including apartments and senior housing, expanded in many districts….

“Nonresidential construction activity improved in the Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago and St. Louis districts, though many of these contacts characterized the improvement as slow. Boston, New York and San Francisco characterized nonresidential real estate activity as unchanged or steady. The energy and high-tech sectors were driving much of the demand in the Dallas district. San Francisco noted a rise in the demand for office space from the technology sector. Cleveland and Chicago saw a boost in health-care-related construction.

“Projects related to the education sector are showing growth in Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Richmond. The outlook of builders is described as positive or slowly improving in the Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta and Kansas City districts and as cautiously optimistic in Boston … several districts reported an increase in commercial real estate lending activity. The Philadelphia and Cleveland districts reported increased lending for multifamily housing and health care.”

Click here to view March PPI numbers and here to view February metro employment numbers. Click here to view updated state economic fact sheets. 

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to pme

Recent Articles by Ken Simonson

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

BNP Media's Plumbing Group Visits Grundfos North American Headquarters

BNP Media’s Plumbing Group, comprised of the Plumbing & Mechanical, Supply House Times, PM Engineer (pme) and Reeves Journal brands, recently visited Grundfos’ new North American headquarters building in the western Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, Ill.

6/12/14 2:00 pm EST

There's A New Lead-Free Law in Town

AVAILABLE ON DEMAND New lead-free compliance laws took effect in January—which means you’ve got a stampede of new problems to consider. So, mosey on in to learn more about the new regulations.

PM Engineer Magazine

June 2014

2014 June

In the June issue of pme, find out who the 2014 Manufacturer's Rep of the Year is and how they're sold foundation has taken them to the top. Read about the highlights from Building Safety Month and the importance of safe and sustainable structures, find out what Zurn and Green Turtle Group are saying about grease interceptors and read about the 2014 Uponor Connections Convention in Las Vegas. Also, catch up on the latest news and products from the plumbing and mechanical engineering industry.
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Industry News Access

What’s your favorite electronic device to access industry news?
View Results Poll Archive

The PM Engineer Store

plumbing-hvac.gif
2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research

ClearSeasResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

NSF 122x150

 

Check out pme's special section - Design for Safety & Sustainability.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook_4012.png twitter_40px12.png  youtube_40px12.png    linkedin_40px1.png Google+