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Construction Trends | April 2024

Pay Study: Construction Workers, Nurses and Artists Projected to See Highest Increases in Pay by 2033

New research has ranked the United States’ most populated industries and estimated what their pay could look like in 2033, in line with inflation, and the results are surprising.


The research by TollFreeForwarding.com found those in construction can expect to make $4.63 more per hour in 20233 than they do today, it is registered nurses who can expect the highest increase of the 16 professions included in the study. RNs are expected to make $12.82 more per hour in 2033 than they do today.


Interestingly, artists, writers and performers are expected to see the second highest increase in hourly earnings, with an adjusted $8 rise in 2033 from 2023. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a continued demand for live music and digital media opportunities will continue to drive growth in the arts. The BLS projects entertainers and performers to see a 6% growth over the next decade, while artists and writers will see a 4% growth. The increases for lower-wage workers can somewhat be attributed to states raising their minimum wage requirements and a competitive labor market.


Dentists are expected to see the sharpest decrease in earnings, making $13.72 less per hour by 2033, followed by lawyers, who are estimated to earn $5.00 less per hour, and doctors, who are estimated to make $2.89 less per hour. Despite the decrease in hourly wages, all three professions project to be among the highest earners in 2033, with doctors expected to earn $150 per hour, dentists $93.95 per hour and lawyers $90.34 per hour, the three highest of all included professions.

Manufacturing Investments Propel Construction Growth

The Marcum Commercial Construction Index for the fourth quarter of 2023 reports that the construction industry retained momentum through the year’s final quarter, capping off a year of surprisingly strong performance.


The construction industry’s surprisingly strong performance in 2023 is largely attributable to manufacturing-related investment. “Manufacturing-related construction continued to surge in the fourth quarter, with spending in the segment rising another 5.2%,” said Anirban Basu, Marcum’s chief construction economist and author of the report. “Due to the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS Act, and the private-sector desire to reshore capacity, spending in the category is up more than 186% over the past three years.”


Moderating input price escalation also served as a tailwind for the industry, especially in the latter parts of the year. “The tameness of commodities prices in 2023 was a welcome development for contractors, as input prices are still about 38% higher than at the start of the pandemic,” said Basu. “While global supply chain improvements are the biggest factor behind this moderation, sagging global demand has also helped.”
As a result of elevated construction activity, contractors continued to hire throughout the fourth quarter. “The construction industry added jobs for the tenth straight month in December,” said Basu. “Nonresidential hiring outpaced job growth on the residential side, as increased infrastructure outlays and manufacturing megaprojects bolstered demand for workers in the nonresidential building and heavy and civil engineering categories.


That hiring would have occurred at a faster pace if not for the ongoing labor shortages facing the industry. “The industry averaged 445,000 job openings per month from October to December of 2023,” said Basu. “That’s the highest quarterly level on record.”


Despite a strong quarter for the broader construction industry, the commercial segment struggled due to declining demand for warehouse space. “Commercial construction spending fell more than 2% during the fourth quarter of 2023 and increased just 1% over the entirety of the year,” said Basu. “That’s in nominal terms, so after accounting for inflation, investment in the segment actually declined in 2023.”
To download the complete Marcum Commercial Construction Index or for more information, visit www.marcumllp.com.


Dodge Momentum Index Recedes 1% in February
The Dodge Momentum Index, issued by Dodge Construction Network, fell 1.4% in February to 180.5 (2000=100) from the revised January reading of 183.0. Over the month, commercial planning fell 2.3% and institutional planning ticked up 0.1%.


“Weaker office and healthcare planning constrained nonresidential planning in February,” stated Sarah Martin, associate director of forecasting for Dodge. “However, the index remains 25% higher than where it was just two years ago. Most other categories showed growth over the month, and Dodge remains optimistic that nonresidential planning will stay elevated throughout 2024 alongside rising confidence in 2025 market conditions.”


Slower growth in office planning pulled down the commercial portion of the index in February. On the institutional side, slower healthcare and amusement planning was offset by stronger education planning, keeping this portion of the DMI flat in February. Year over year, the DMI was 1% higher than in February 2023. The commercial segment was down 10% from year-ago levels, while the institutional segment was up 27% over the same period.


In February, a total of 17 projects valued at $100 million or more entered planning. The largest commercial projects included the $220 million QTS Data Center in Fort Worth, Texas, and the $150 million DOT Transit Maintenance Facility in Boulder, Colorado. The largest institutional projects comprised the $348 million Island Parkway Life Sciences Campus in Belmont, California, and the $304 million New York Presbyterian Cancer Center in New York, New York.


The DMI is a monthly measure of the value of nonresidential building projects going into planning, shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.

Construction Backlog Indicator Down in February

Associated Builders and Contractors reports that its Construction Backlog Indicator declined to 8.1 months in February, according to an ABC member survey conducted Feb. 20 to March 5. The reading is down 1.1 months from February 2023.


Backlog fell for every size of contractor except for those with under $30 million in annual revenues in February. Over the past year, however, the largest contractors—those with greater than $50 million in revenues—have experienced the greatest decline in backlog.


ABC’s Construction Confidence Index readings for sales, profit margins and staffing levels also decreased in February. However, all three readings remain above the threshold of 50, indicating expectations for growth over the next six months.


“Backlog is declining and confidence began to fade modestly in February,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While it is far too early to predict an industrywide downturn given that confidence readings continue to signal growth along sales, employment and profit margin dimensions, it appears that a rising tide of project cancellations and postponements has begun to make its mark.


“With excess inflation remaining stubbornly durable, at least according to certain measures, interest rates are poised to remain higher for longer,” said Basu. “That gives higher borrowing costs more time to upset the economic momentum that has so surprised economists over the past two years and has provided support for various nonresidential construction activities. With so much federal money still entering the economy, there will continue to be support for growth in certain construction segments, including public works and manufacturing-related megaprojects, but industry weakness is more apparent in segments that rely more purely on private financing.”

Construction Industry Adds 23,000 Jobs in February

The construction industry added 23,000 jobs in February—the most since August—as a strong gain in employment at nonresidential contractors offset a small decline at residential firms, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that new figures on the number of job openings in the industry underscore the challenges firms are having finding enough qualified people to hire amid strong demand.


“Nonresidential contractors stepped up their hiring in February,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But job-openings and spending data released earlier suggests hiring would be even more robust if construction firms could find enough qualified workers.”


Construction employment in February totaled 8,162,000, seasonally adjusted, an increase of 23,000 or 0.3% from the upwardly revised January total. The sector has added 215,000 jobs during the past 12 months, a gain of 2.7%. Employment at nonresidential construction firms—nonresidential building and specialty trade contractors along with heavy and civil engineering construction firms—climbed by 24,200 positions for the month and 158,500 (3.4%) since February 2023. Residential building and specialty trade contractors shed 1,200 employees in February but added 56,800 (1.7%) over 12 months.


Average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees in construction—covering most on-site craft workers as well as many office workers—climbed by 4.9% over the year to $35.21 per hour. Construction firms in January provided a wage “premium” of 18.5% compared to the average hourly earnings for all private-sector production employees.


Government reports on job openings and construction spending earlier in February show demand for construction workers and projects remains solid. Job openings in construction at the end of January totaled 407,000, not seasonally adjusted, topping the 352,000 workers hired. The job openings data implies that contractors want to hire far more workers than they can find, Simonson added. In addition, spending on projects under way that month totaled $2.1 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, 12% higher than a year earlier.

Nonresidential Construction Spending Falls Sharply in January

National nonresidential construction spending decreased 0.4% in January, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data published by the U.S. Census Bureau. On a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, nonresidential spending totaled $1.190 trillion.


Spending was down on a monthly basis in 10 of the 16 nonresidential subcategories. Private nonresidential spending fell 0.1%, while public nonresidential construction spending was down 1.0% in January.


“Nonresidential construction spending fell sharply in January, ending a 19-month streak of monthly gains,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Some of this decrease is due to weather-related factors. That’s especially true in infrastructure categories like highway and street and water supply, both of which exhibited steep declines in spending to start the year but should remain elevated through 2024.
“Construction spending in the manufacturing category, on the other hand, continued to surge in January,” said Basu. “Manufacturing now accounts for nearly $1 of every $5 of nonresidential construction spending.


“Despite January’s disappointing data, nonresidential construction spending is still up more than 17% over the past year,” said Basu. “Given that year-over-year strength and the fact that a majority of contractors expect their sales to increase over the next six months, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index, spending is likely to rebound over the coming months.”

ClarkDietrich Announces Retirement of Jim Collins

ClarkDietrich has announced the impending retirement of its president and CEO Jim Collins. Collins, who has been at the helm of ClarkDietrich since 2017, will step down March 31, 2025. Brian Panuccio, the company’s current chief commercial officer, has been tapped to take the reins upon Collins’ departure.
Collins served in a variety of roles in his four decades of service, beginning as a management trainee with Dietrich Industries in 1983. In 2011 he moved to Cincinnati to become ClarkDietrich’s chief information officer. He was part of the team that brought two firms together when ClarkWestern Building Systems and Dietrich Metal Framing were combined to form ClarkDietrich Building Systems following the challenges of the great financial crisis. Today, the company remains the nation’s top producer of steel framing materials that employs over 1,500 people across 17 facilities throughout the USA and Canada.


Collins will work closely with Panuccio over to ensure a smooth transition. Like Collins, Panuccio has committed his career to cold-formed steel framing, having joined Dietrich Metal Framing in 2002. He brings decades of experience managing sales and marketing functions in both local, regional and national markets. He joined the company as part of a sales trainee program and has steadily advanced his career by excelling in each role along the way.

GMS Completes the Acquisition of Kamco Supply Corporation

GMS Inc. has successfully completed its previously disclosed acquisition of Kamco Supply Corporation, a supplier of ceilings, wallboard, steel, lumber and other complementary construction products in the New York City metropolitan area.


For the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2023, Kamco generated approximately $235 million in annual revenue from its four established distribution facilities and its recently opened Bronx greenfield.


GMS funded the $321.5 million purchase price with cash on hand and available borrowings on its revolving credit facility.

L&W Supply Opens Its Seventh Michigan Location

L&W Supply has opened a new location at 1723 Vanderbilt Ave. in Portage, Michigan.


Jeffrey Pettit manages the new location. Pettit joined L&W Supply in 2004 and has since held various positions, including warehouse manager, inside sales associate and delivery services manager. Prior to his current role as Portage’s branch manager, he was branch manager at the Saginaw, Michigan, location.
As branch manager, Pettit is responsible for managing daily branch operations, cultivating customer relationships, guiding associates and executing branch growth and profitability.

Eastern Metal Building Products Acquires Super Stud Building Products

Eastern Metal Building Products LLC, the parent company of EB Metal US, has acquired Super Stud Building Products Inc., a construction products manufacturer. The acquisition includes Super Stud’s affiliates: Galaxy Metal Products, DragonBoard USA and FroMar Structural Wall Panel System.


Customers can expect EB Metal in New England and Super Stud in the Tri-State and Mid-Atlantic regions. Super Stud and EB Metal will serve the South from their existing locations in Mississippi and Alabama, respectively. Super Stud affiliates Galaxy, DragonBoard and FroMar will continue operations under the same names from current locations.


Eastern Metal will serve as the parent entity for all subsidiary companies, with Ryan Filion continuing as CEO. The existing management teams of all companies will stay on board in their current roles.
Founded in 1973 by Ray Frobosilo, Super Stud Building Products is a manufacturer of cold-formed steel framing components and accessories for use in the construction of commercial, institutional and residential structures. Super Stud has facilities in New Jersey and Mississippi.


Founded in 2011, Eastern Metal is a New England–based metal stud manufacturer. Eastern Metal adopted the EB Metal brand name from the founder, Robert Leonard, in Montreal, Quebec, who helped Leonard and Filion establish the U.S.–based EB Metal business.

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