The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, December 13, 2019

Some good economic news to end the year

By The Building Tradesman

Good economic news, mostly, was released as the odometer begins to flip from 2019 to 2020.

On Dec. 6, a strong federal jobs report came in, showing that the U.S. added 266,000 jobs in November, when analysts were expecting about 180,000. The U.S. unemployment rate ticked down to 3.5 percent from 3.6 percent, matching the 2019 low which also matches the lowest level of U.S. unemployment since 1969.

In the U.S. construction industry, Dodge Data and Analytics said on Dec. 6 that its Momentum Index "has staged somewhat of a resurgence over the last few months," increasing nearly 15 percent from its lowest point earlier in the year. 

That news is tempered with Dodge's record of actual U.S. construction starts, which have been slipping during the course of the fall. In addition, year-to-date U.S. construction spending for January-October fell 1.7 percent from the same months in 2018, according to figures released Dec. 2 by the Associated General Contractors.

"The underlying trend of the Momentum Index continues to suggest that construction activity in 2020 will not crater but will moderately ease relative to this year’s level," Dodge said.