AUGUST 30, 2017 – As of this writing, the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey (and the deluge of rain that followed) has been estimated at $50-75 billion. This would make Harvey one of the costliest storms ever to hit the U.S., exceeded only by Katrina’s $108 billion damage and Sandy’s $75 billion. Recent estimates suggest that the cost of Harvey could even exceed that of Sandy, making it the second most costly natural disaster of the past 30 years. Moody’s Analytics estimates that $30-40 billion of this total will be for damage to homes and vehicles, $10-15 billion for businesses such as stores, offices, and industrial space, and $5-10 billion for infrastructure. The toll in terms of human suffering and loss is, of course, incalculable.
The economic impact of the storm and its effect on construction starts can be broken into two distinct phases, short-term and long-term. Continue reading “Update: Construction Effects of Hurricane Harvey”
Construction employment increased by 6,000 jobs in July to the highest level since October 2008, amid a tight labor market that may be keeping contractors from hiring as many workers as they need, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials urged local, state and federal leaders to enact measures designed to expose more high school students to high-paying careers in construction to offset growing labor shortages.
“Construction firms added employees over the past year at a much higher rate than the public and private sectors as a whole, but the low unemployment rates in construction and the overall economy suggests contractors are having difficulty filling positions,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Although construction spending has slowed, many contractors are still looking for qualified craft workers and project managers.”
Construction employment totaled 6.9 million in July, a gain of 6,000 for the month and 191,000, or 2.8 percent, over 12 months. The economist pointed out that the year-over-year growth rate was nearly twice the 1.5 percent rise in total nonfarm payroll employment. The construction sector’s unemployment rate in July, 4.9 percent, was close to the 4.3 percent rate for all workers. Continue reading “Construction Employment Increases by in July”