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Weekly Roundup: Contractor demand for US port projects, construction job rise, & more

Weekly Roundup: Contractor demand for US port projects, construction job rise, & more

May 21, 2019

Contractor Insider is a weekly roundup of the latest news and insights relevant to contractors.

Contractors in high demand for large-scale US port projects

The expansion of the Panama Canal opens construction opportunities related to US ports as the ports are now dealing with increased traffic and more cargo tonnage. ConstructConnect

  • Multiple states have kicked off large-scale projects that will accommodate the increase in cargo freight. More projects are still under consideration.
  • Contractors are in demand across various sectors, including constructions, engineering, security, and professional services.
  •  The Port of Wilmington in North Carolina plans to increase the width of its turning basin to accommodate more ships, while Burns Harbor Port in Indiana is soliciting bids for the creation of two new railyards.

Construction employment rate increases by 3.5%

The construction industry generated 33,000 more jobs in April than in the previous month and a total of 3.5% increase in employment rate in the last 12 months. AGC Construction Association

  •   The industry’s unemployment rate is currently at its lowest in about 50 years, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.
  •   The average salary in construction has also increased to $30.60 per hour, or by 3.1% in the last year. This wage is relatively higher than the private sector hourly rate of $27.77.
  •   Association officials emphasized the need for more qualified construction professionals, as the issue lies on the dearth of construction workers with relevant experience. Officials urge the Congress to push for legislation that will encourage technical education and will open career doors in construction.

Builder confidence in single-family houses boosts up by 3 points in May

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released a survey revealing a 3-point improvement in builder confidence in the single-family residential market in May. National Association of Home Builders

  • The builder confidence index reported for May is 66, which has been the highest index in the single-family house market since October 2018. This increase was “driven by improved demand and ongoing low overall supply,” said NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde.
  • Affordability still remains to be a big challenge, as mortgage rates hover around 4% and builders deal with the constant struggle with lot shortages and rising of supply costs.
  • The NAHB survey gauges builder perceptions on the prospects of single-family homes by making them rate sales expectations and traffic of prospective buyers. All indices measured in the survey have shown improvement in May, including the metric for gauging buyer traffic which improved by two points to 49.