How long would it take to accommodate adding $1 trillion of new infrastructure construction spending?
I read this in another recent article on the topic; “If passed, the ripple effect of an estimated $100 billion a year in new infrastructure construction would undoubtedly be felt throughout the industry.”
The article seems to imply the industry could absorb $100 billion in new infrastructure work and maintain that $100 billion added spending for 10 years. The infrastructure sector could not accommodate that massive amount of instantaneous growth. Let’s look at maximum historical rates of growth to understand why.
To really understand construction growth rates we need to look at all historical spending in constant dollars (inflation adjusted).All constant dollars in this analysis are converted to 2016$.The following spending historical data goes back to 1993. Jobs data goes back to 1970.
- Construction Industry total spending fastest rates of growth:
- Maximum growth one year, 2015, +$107 billion, in 2016$= $87 billion
- 2011 – 2015, 4 yrs, +$324 billion, in 2016$ = +$240 billion = $60bil/yr.
- 1995 to 1999, 4 yrs, +$200 billion, in 2016$ = +$200 billion = $50bil/yr.
- Infrastructure Sector spending fastest rates of growth:
- Maximum growth one year, 2007, +$40 billion, in 2016$= $36 billion
- 2005 – 2008, 3 yrs, +$87 billion, in 2016$ = +$52 billion = $17bil/yr.
- 1997 – 2001, 4 yrs, +$50 billion, in 2016$ = +$46 billion = $15bil/yr.
- Construction Industry Jobs fastest rates of growth:
- Maximum growth one year, 1999, 397,000 jobs
- 4 years from 1995 to 1999, average 317,000 jobs/year.
- 3 years from 2012 to 2015, average 266,000 jobs/year.
- Infrastructure Sector Jobs fastest rates of growth:
- Maximum growth one year, 2004, 65,000 jobs
- 3 years from 2003 to 2006, average 48,000 jobs/year
- 3 years from 2011 to 2014, average 26,000 jobs/year
The fastest one-year growth for the entire construction industry is $87 billion in 2015, but the fastest growth rate is never maintained for long. The period 2011-2015 is the highest average rate of growth at $60 billion/year. The entire industry has had jobs growth of more than 300,000/year only 6 times since 1970. 1995 to 1999 is the only period to average over 300,000 jobs/year longer than 2 years.
Infrastructure is only 25% of all construction work. The entire construction industry best growth rate ever achieved (in 2016$) absorbed $1 trillion in new spending over 5 years. Infrastructure has not absorbed $1 trillion newly added work in 25 years. The fastest one-year growth for the Infrastructure sector is $36 billion in 2007, but the highest average rate of growth is $17 billion/year. The current rate of growth since the recession is $10 billion/year.
The infrastructure sector has had jobs growth of more than 40,000/year only 3 times since 1993. Maximum jobs growth hit 65,000 in 2007. The best average jobs growth is 48,000 jobs/year and that has not occurred in the last 10 years. It’s the only period with average growth more than 26,000 jobs.
Let’s assume the fastest rates of growth can be duplicated once again. Let’s also assume that longer term growth will come closer to the long term average highs. So, infrastructure growth might reach $36 billion in a given year but could fall back to an average growth of $17 billion/year. Jobs could grow by 65,000/year but would probably average less than 48,000/year.
However, even with the addition of a new influx of infrastructure work, most of the other growth, which has been fairly constant for the last 25 years, is not going to go away. Since the recession, infrastructure has been increasing at $10 billion/year and jobs have been increasing 20,000/year. Assuming we maintain that level of normal infrastructure growth, then the remainder is what we might expect to accommodate in growth from new infrastructure stimulus.
If we could achieve maximum rates of growth we could increase infrastructure additionally through new stimulus by $26 billion/ year and increase jobs by 45,000/year.
If we could maintain long term best average rates of growth we could increase infrastructure through new stimulus by $7 billion/year and increase jobs by 28,000/year. Even if a portion of the normal growth goes away, it looks like the infrastructure sector could only accommodate adding about $10 billion/year in new stimulus work.
It must be noted that a large portion of infrastructure spending is private work, not publicly funded. Power is 90% private, 10% public. Highway is 100% public. Transportation is 30% private, 70% public. Sewage, Water and Conservation are 100% public. Communication is 100% private.
Fully 35% of all infrastructure work is private. Most of the huge increases in spending over the years are associated with the Power market. So this analysis counters any argument that publicly funded infrastructure can grow much faster. In fact, if only public works were taken into account, spending targets here would need to be reduced by 35% and the total duration to complete would be increased by 50%.
A cash flow schedule of all newly added work provided the plan needed to balance spending. All new work is assumed to take 4 years to complete. In the first year, $40 billion of new work starts, but only $10 billion gets spent. Spending flows at the rate of $10 billion/year for 4 years. New starts are added at a rate to continuously increase spending by $10 billion/year. By the 5th year we need to add $80 billion in new starts to get $20 billion in spending since all of year 1 work is now completed.
This table gives an indication of how cash flows. The full 13 year table is below.
I have assumed that inflation will add 4%/year to future spending. Five years from now the equivalent to adding $10 billion a year will be $12.2 billion a year. Due to inflation, we would spend $1 trillion to build the equivalent of $750 billion in today’s dollars. Increasing spending by the inflation adjusted equivalent of $10 billion per year, it would take 12 to 13 years to spend $1 trillion.
This scenario would push total infrastructure spending to the highest rates of long term growth on record. It’s not very likely growth like that could be sustained for very long. So, it’s possible total growth would fluctuate yet that we still keep our sights on achieving those long term growth rates. This allows for no economic downturn at any time in the next 10 years.
Another restraint to maximum growth rates is jobs. Infrastructure is only 25% of all construction. Maximum all construction jobs growth has exceeded 300,000/year a few times, but infrastructure jobs have increased by more than 40,000 only rarely and only once averaged over 40,000. While it takes about 5,000 to 6,000 workers to put-in-place $1 billion in construction, it takes only about 3,000 to 4,000 workers to put-in-place $1 billion of infrastructure. To reach maximum growth of $36 billion in infrastructure would require 110,000 to 140,000 new jobs per year, two to three times the long term growth. This analysis does not take into consideration any shortfall in jobs due to labor availability.
Setting spending growth to $10 billion/year results in 10 years of continuous record jobs and spending growth. Expectations of increasing infrastructure spending (not to be confused with starts) by $40 billion/year or $50 billion/year have not taken into consideration the maximum sustained growth rates in the industry. Talk of increasing infrastructure spending by $100 billion in a year is fantasizing.
In recent reading I came across a comment that both Educational and Health Care markets potentially could be included in Infrastructure funding. I take that to mean the public portion of those markets. Educational could be considered infrastructure and is 80% public ($70/$88bil). I would guess also Public Safety and Public Power could be included. Educational public spending is $70 billion/year. The others are $8 billion each. The short version of all the explanation above is that new infrastructure investment can grow a market at about half of the best total long term average growth of 10%/year. So these markets could absorb growth of about 5% or about $5 billion/year more.
More about Infrastructure written 3-6-17 Calls for Infrastructure Problematic
Stuff you won’t read in the headlines.
- Total Construction spending for the last 3 months is at a 10 year high. However, in constant inflation adjusted dollars, construction spending is still 16% below 10 years ago. Are We at New Peak Construction Spending?
- In the last 36 months, there were 16 Census construction spending releases that initially showed a decline vs the previous month. Five months showed a decline vs the previous year. After revisions every month was revised up from the original posted amount. There remained only 2 significant mo/mo declines. There were no remaining year/year declines. Construction Spending Gets Revised UP
- Nonresidential Bldgs new starts (by Dodge Data) in the 2nd half of 2016 posted the best #s since the pre-recession boom. New Construction Starts 2016
- Nonresidential construction spending within the year is far more dependent on construction starts from previous years than on new starts within the year. Only 20%-25% of all spending within the year comes from new starts within the year. Behind The Headlines – Construction Backlog
- If Nonresidential New Starts for 2017 fall short of projections by 10%, it would reduce total 2017 nonresidential spending by 2.0% to 2.5%.
- 25% of all spending on nonresidential bldgs in 2017 comes from projects that started in 2015.
- 25% of all spending on non-building infrastructure in 2017 comes from projects that started between July 2014 and May 2015. That unusually high period contributes more to 2017 spending than all new infrastructure starts in 2017. Infrastructure Outlook 2017
- Monthly rate of spending for nonresidential bldgs will reach a new all-time current dollar high by midyear 2017. Behind The Headlines – Nonres Bldgs Construction Spending
- In constant inflation adjusted dollars, 2017 nonresidential bldgs spending will still be lower than any year from 1995 to 2009, 16% below the 2000 peak. Behind The Headlines – Nonres Bldgs Construction Spending
- New construction starts in 2016 for Office buildings as compared to 2015 went from -1% year-to-date in July to +30% ytd in September. Good example that we need to be careful because monthly variation sometimes messes up those comparisons. New Construction Starts 2016
Dodge Data New Construction Starts in December fell off the pace of growth we had in the previous few months due entirely to a large drop in Energy Infrastructure starts. Total of all starts for 2016 finished as the highest year since 2005. Un-adjusted 2016 totals are only 1% higher than 2015, but 2015 totals have already been adjusted up, so this is an unequal comparison. Annual adjustments are always UP and average about +4% per year. After 2016 totals get adjusted up we might see 2016 growth of 4% to 5% over 2015.
Residential starts in 2016 posted the best year since 2005-2006. Residential starts bottomed in 2009 and have now posted the 7th consecutive year of growth. New starts show an increase of only 6% for 2016, but that follows several years of growth averaging more than 20%/year. I expect after adjustments 2016 residential starts will be revised to 8% growth. Spending has bounced 90% off the bottom in large part due to 17%/year average growth in 2013-2014-2015. Because both starts and spending growth have been so strong, recent percent growth rates are smaller. Expect only 5% spending growth in 2017.
Nonresidential Building new starts in December remained consistent with October and November. Although well below the yearly highs reached in August and September, the final three months helped carry 2016 totals to an 8-year high. Nonresidential Buildings starts for the last six months averaged the highest since the 1st half of 2008. Total starts as posted are up only 4% from 2015 but nonresidential buildings has been subject to the largest adjustment of all sectors. I expect after adjustment nonresidential buildings will show a 2016 increase of about 8% to 9%.
These six Nonresidential Buildings markets, which make up 80% of all nonresidential buildings spending, posted the following growth in starts leading into 2017: Office +37%, Lodging +40%, Educational +11%, Healthcare +21%, Commercial Retail +11% and Amusement/Recreation +21%. For the last 3 years spending combined growth in these six markets has ranged between 9%/yr and 12%/yr. For 2017, expect spending growth of 14%.
Manufacturing, which has an 18% market share of nonresidential buildings, saw new starts decline by 38% in 2016. However, in 2014 and 2015 this market posted the fastest growth of any market in a decade and posted the two highest years on record. In 2015 spending increased 33% to the highest ever recorded for manufacturing buildings. Spending is down 4% in 2016 and is expected to decline 13% more in 2017, but 2017 will still be the 3rd highest year of spending on record.
Non-building Infrastructure monthly new construction starts in December fell to a 10-year low. However, due to strong performance throughout the year, and even though total starts fell 11% from 2015, total Infrastructure starts for 2016 came in at the second highest year on record. 2015 was up 27% from 2014. So, even though headlines will point to an 11% decline in 2016, due to the distribution of spending from backlog, 2017 will post the largest spending increase in 3 years. I expect after adjustments the 2016 decline will be revised up by 3 points to -8%.
Power and Highway/Bridge/Street make up two thirds of non-building infrastructure spending. Power project starts dropped 33% in 2016, but from the highest annual total of starts on record. In 2015, Power starts increased 150% to an all-time high and Highway/Bridge/Street finished just shy of a 6-year high. In the 1st five months of 2015, a years worth of Power projects started and they are not yet completed. That volume is still contributing to infrastructure spending in 2017. It was not unexpected that starts in these markets would be down for 2016. The amount of monthly spending from projects started in 2014 and 2015 in this sector will contribute to spending for several years to come. Spending in 2017 will be the highest ever in this sector, up 4% from 2016.
Dodge Data published new construction starts for January 2017 on Feb 22. Starts are up 12% from December; +1% in residential, +16% in nonresidential buildings and +44% in non-building infrastructure. December was revised slightly. Among the major changes for this January: electric utility +285%; misc public works +222%; transportation terminals +768% (mostly LaGuardia airport terminal); offices +26%; manufacturing -69%; educational -18%.
A major revision was posted to January 2016 starts. They were revised up in total by 23%, a huge move equal to about 1/3 to 1/2 of what we would normally see for a total annual revision. For the last 4 years the annual revision to new starts has averaged +4%. January 2016 residential starts were revised up 9%, nonresidential buildings up 21% and non-building infrastructure up 49%. Even with that, current January 2017 starts are up 10% from January a year ago.
Prior to the data release on Feb. 22, non-building infrastructure 2016 starts were down 11% from 2015. You will note in my commentary above I predicted that would be revised to show only an 8% decline. After one month it has already been revised to only an 8.6% decline. I now expect after all months of 2016 infrastructure starts are revised 2016 will show only a 6% decline from 2015.
tables updated 2-1-17
New Backlog is the total value of project revenues under contract that are about to start construction, or new starts. The entire value of a project is considered in backlog when the contract is signed. Projects booked in December 2016 or before are in backlog at the start of 2017. Simply referencing total backlog does not give a clear indication of spending within the next calendar year. Just because backlog is up going into a new year does not necessarily mean revenues will be up that year. You must understand some very important distinctions about backlog to determine how much revenue will occur within the next year.
Projects, from start to completion, can have significantly different duration. Whereas a residential home may have a duration of 8 or 9 months, an office building could have a duration of 18 to 24 months and a billion dollar infrastructure project could have a duration of 3 to 4 years.
Backlog at the start of 2017 could include revenues from projects that started last month or as long as several years ago. For a project that has a duration of several years, the amount in starting backlog at the beginning of 2017 is not the total backlog amount recorded for the project at its start date, but is the amount remaining to complete the project or the estimate to complete (ETC).
The only way to know how much of total backlog that will get spent in the current year and following years is to prepare an estimated cash flow from start to finish for all the projects that have started in backlog. Then add up the amounts from all projects in each month to find the cumulative cash flow in that month, or in that year.
Construction Starts provide the values entering backlog each month. Except for residential, new project starts within the year contribute a much smaller percentage to total spending in the first year than all the backlog ETC on the books at the start of the year. New residential projects contribute the most to spending within the year started because generally residential projects have the shortest duration. Residential projects started in the first quarter may reach completion before the year is over. New infrastructure projects generally have the longest duration and may contribute some share of project value to backlog spread over the next several years.
The distinction between backlog, backlog ETC and cumulative cash flow is necessary to predict spending. For example:
We start the year with $100 billion of residential projects in backlog and $100 billion of infrastructure projects in backlog. All of the residential projects could have durations of 12 months or less. Therefore residential spending could total $100 billion within the year. However, the infrastructure projects could have durations of 2 years, 3 years or 4 years. Spending from infrastructure backlog this year might total only $50 billion with $30 billion in spending occurring next year and $20 billion the following year. Although both sectors start the year with the same total amount in backlog, we can see the amount spent within the year is determined by the duration of the projects and the cash flow schedule.
Backlog totals may not be a good indicator of total revenue spending within the year. In fact, backlog could be up and total revenues for the year could end up lower than the previous year. Unless you have a clear picture of the types and duration of projects that make up the backlog, you will not have a clear picture of spending activity in the coming year.
See Also Construction Backlog 2017 3-21-2017
2-1-17 Upated to include Decmber data
Non-building Infrastructure spending in 2016 will finish at $291 billion, down less than 1% from 2015. Spending based on projected cash flow from Dodge Data Starts predicted this drop. The negative drivers were Transportation, Sewage/Waste Disposal, Communications and Water Supply. Power, the largest infrastructure market at 34% of total sector spending, will finish up 3.3%. Highway/Street, 31% of total sector, will finish up 2%.
In 2017, Non-building Infrastructure, following two down years, will increase by 4.4% to $304 billion, due to growth in the highway and transportation markets. In the most recent quarter spending began to recover from 2016 lows posted in August and September. 2017 will be a record year for Infrastructure spending supported by spending generated from the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act and potentially the Water Resources Development Act.
Annual percent growth in new starts (backlog), by itself, is not necessarily a good indicator of spending in the following year. The duration of backlog must be known to forecast spending.
At the beginning of 2016, work in backlog had increased 9% over 2015, but because a large percentage was very long duration work, the amount of cash flow (work put-in-place) in 2016 from that backlog decreased from 2015.
At the beginning of 2017, work in backlog increased only 6% over 2016. What is significant though is that the amount of cash flow in 2017 from that backlog will be up 10%. That is being caused by long duration work-to-complete backlog from 2014 and 2015, which is dominated by spending in the power market. In the 1st five months of 2015, a years worth of Power work started and it’s not yet completed. It’s still contributing to infrastructure spending in 2017.
Although new starts in 2016 will finish down 6% from 2015, starts in 2015 were so strong that 2016 will still be a high volume of new starts. 2015 was up 25% from 2014. So, even though headlines will point to a 6% decline in new infrastructure starts in both 2016 and 2017, due to the distribution of spending from backlog, 2017 spending will post the largest growth in 3 years. 2017 will be a record year for spending on infrastructure, up more than 4% from 2016.
Infrastructure construction starts and spending is dominated by movements in Power and Highway markets. Power/Electric/Gas and Highway/Bridge/Street, about equally, comprise 65% of all infrastructure spending. Transportation/Air/Rail accounts for 15%. Sewage/Waste 8%, Communication 6%, Water 4% and Conservation 3%.
Power is 90% private, 10% public. Highway is 100% public. Transportation is 30% private, 70% public. Sewage, Water and Conservation are 100% public. Communication is 100% private.
Power project starts dropped 25% in 2016 but from the highest annual total of starts on record in 2015. In addition, power had very strong starts in late 2014. All of those very strong starts in late 2014 and all of 2015 are still ongoing in backlog and will contribute to strong spending in 2017. Almost half of all the spending in 2017 is generated from projects that started in 2014 and 2015. Power spending in 2017 will increase 2% over 2016 for a 6th consecutive year of near $100 billion in spending.
Highway/Street, the second largest public market, reached all-time highs in spending from the 3rd quarter 2015 through the 1st quarter 2016. After a 6 month slow down, spending in November again reached a new all-time high. Highway spending in 2017 will grow 5% over 2016.
Transportation hit all-time highs in spending all during the 2nd half of 2015. Spending declined by 6% in 2016 but is still the second highest year on record. It will again equal those 2015 highs throughout all of 2017. Transportation spending in 2017 will grow 6% over 2016.
Projected impact of proposed infrastructure stimulus:
- None of the starts or spending detailed above includes any projections of potential work from future stimulus.
- Infrastructure spending, about 25% of total construction spending, increased more than $25 billion in a single year only once. The average annual growth for the past 20 years is less than $10 billion/year. Although infrastructure growth is always erratic with no growth some years, the average growth for the last six years (post-recession) has averaged $10 billion/year. Some of those years included prior stimulus growth.
- The annual growth in PUBLIC Infrastructure has never exceeding $20 billion in a single year and averages only $7 billion.
- The average growth in infrastructure jobs (excluding all recessionary years because those years would make the result approach zero) is about 25,000 jobs per year.
- Based on infrastructure proportion of all construction, and on both all construction and infrastructure historical maximum rates of spending and jobs growth, it may be unrealistic to anticipate more than $10 billion/year growth in the infrastructure sector. ie., (from current total add $10bil yr1, $20bil yr2, $30bil yr3, etc.) See Infrastructure – Ramping Up to Add $1 trillion for more detailed explanation.
This is my initial forecast for 2017. Census final revisions to Oct., Nov. and Dec. 2016 spending will not be posted until February, March and April. I will then update the 2017 forecast to reflect better input. Then, with the June 1, 2017 release of spending, Census will post revisions to all 2016 spending. The 2016 record will then be updated.
2-1-17 Updated to include Dec 2016 data
Total construction spending in 2017 will reach $1,236 billion supported by a 4th consecutive year of strong growth in nonresidential buildings. The monthly rate of spending will range from near $1.2 trillion in January to $1.3 trillion at year-end.
Nonresidential Buildings spending in 2017 will increase to $447 billion, 9.1% over 2016. The most recent 3-month average seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) is $420 billion, only 5.5% below the peak of $444 billion in 2008. By midyear 2017 the SAAR will reach a new all-time high and it will finish the year near a SAAR of $460 billion. Office spending will lead 2017 with 30%+ growth. Commercial, Lodging and Educational markets are all expected to post strong gains over 10%.
For details on Nonresidential Buildings, See Behind The Headlines – Nonres Bldgs Construction Spending and Nonresidential Bldgs 2017 Forecasts Comparisons
Non-building Infrastructure, following two down years, will increase by 4.4% to $304 billion, due to growth in the highway and transportation markets. In the most recent quarter spending began to recover from 2016 lows posted in August and September. 2017 will be a record year for Infrastructure spending supported by spending generated from the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act and potentially the Water Resources Development Act.
For Non-building Infrastructure details see Infrastructure Outlook 2017
Residential will increase only moderately to $485 billion, adding 4.8% over 2016. That follows on three years of substantial growth averaging 17%/year. More than any other sector residential work is more dependent on new starts within the current year to generate spending, approximately two thirds of all spending within the year.
Office building new starts through August were up only 6% year-to-date but starts in September reached the highest in years. The 2016 starts finished at +37% providing the highest amount of work in backlog going back at least 8 years. Lodging starts in 2016 finished up nearly 40%, Healthcare up 20% and Amusement/Recreation up 35%.
Power project starts dropped 30% in 2016 but from the highest amount of starts on record in 2015. In addition, power had very strong starts in late 2014. All of those very strong starts in late 2014 and all of 2015 are still ongoing in backlog and will contribute to positive spending in 2017. Almost half of all the spending in 2017 is generated from projects that started in 2014 and 2015.
See Also 2016 Construction Spending 1-3-17
Total construction spending peaked in Q1 2006 at an annual rate of $1,222 billion. For the most recent three months it has averaged $1,172 billion. It is currently at a 10 1/2 year high at just 4% below peak spending. But that ignores inflation.
In constant inflation adjusted dollars spending is still 18% below the Q1 2006 peak.
Current headlines express exuberance that we are now at a 10 1/2 year high in construction spending but fail to address the fact that is comparing dollars that are not adjusted for inflation.
In the 1st quarter of 2006 total spending peaked at a annual rate of $1.2 billion and for the year 2006 spending totaled $1,167 billion. We are within a stone’s throw of reaching that monthly level and 2016 will reach a new all-time high total spending by a slim fraction. But all of that is measured in current dollars, dollars at the value of worth within that year, ignoring inflation.
Adjusting for inflation gives us a much different value. Inflation adjusted dollars are referred to as constant dollars or dollars all compared or measured in value in terms of the year to which we choose to compare. To be fair, we must now compare all backdated years of construction to constant dollars in 2016. What would those previous years be worth if they were valued in 2016 dollars?
By mid-2017 total construction spending will reach a new all-time high, but in constant inflation adjusted dollars will still be 17% below 2006 peak. We will not reach a new inflation adjusted high before 2020.
Residential construction spending is still 32% below the 2006 peak of $690 billion. In constant inflation adjusted dollars it is 39% below 2006 peak.
Nonresidential Buildings construction spending is only 3.5% below 2008 peak of $443 billion. However, in constant inflation adjusted dollars it is 18% below 2008 peak.
Non-building Infrastructure construction spending pre-recession peaked in 2008 at at an annual rate of $290 billion. However, post recession it peaked in Q1 2014 at $314 billion. It is now 8% below the 2014 peak. In constant inflation adjusted dollars it is 12% below the 2014 peak.
For more on inflation SEE Construction Cost Inflation – Midyear Report 2016
This is a first pass at 2017 spending. It will be update in February when December starts and spending become available.
2-1-17 updated to include December data
Nonresidential Buildings spending for 2016 totaled $409 billion, UP 8.1% from 2015. Spending posted increases of 9.7% in 2014 and 13.8% in 2015.
Nonresidential Buildings spending in 2017 will increase to $447 billion, 9.1% over 2016. The most recent 3-month average seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) is $420 billion, only 5.5% below the peak in 2008. By midyear 2017 the SAAR will reach a new all-time high. Office, Commercial, Lodging and Educational markets are all expected to post strong results over 10% growth in 2017.
Office building new starts through August were up only 6% year-to-date but starts in September as tracked by Dodge Data & Analytics reached the highest in years. 2016 starts finished at +37% providing the highest amount of work in backlog going back at least 8 years. Lodging starts in 2016 finished up nearly 40%, Healthcare up 20% and Amusement/Recreation up 35%.
Manufacturing – spending will finish down this year, $75 billion vs $78 billion in 2015, but both years are more than 30% higher than the next closest years, 2014 and 2009. Rather than labeling 2016 a down year, 2015-2016 should be described as an extended period of extremely strong spending. 2017 spending will drop the most since pre-recession to $65 billion but will still remain well above 2014. In 2005-2006, manufacturing was less than 10% of total spending in the nonresidential buildings sector. In 2015 it reached 21%. Today it is 18%. Manufacturing in some reports is referred to as Industrial.
Office – spending dropped more than 40% from $65 billion/year in 2007-2008 to $37 billion from 2010 to 2013. Since then it has increased every year by an average of more than 20%/year and is expected to continue that level of growth in 2017. New starts for office projects increased more than 30% in 2016. Office construction 2017 starting backlog (projects under contract as of Jan 1, 2017) is the highest in at least 8 years, more than double at the start of 2014 when the current growth cycle of office construction spending began. More importantly, the ratio of spending from starting backlog is also increasing for 2017. This is setting up a very strong spending growth pattern for the next 2 years. Office construction reached a new all-time high in September 2016. Spending will be in the range of +20% to +30% year over year growth for 2017 with total coming in at $91 billion. Office was more than 16% of total sector spending in 2006 through 2008 before dropping to 13% in the recession. Now at over 17%, it has been growing steadily for the last few years. In 2017 it will be 19% of total sector spending. Offices includes data centers.
Commercial/Retail – this market dropped from $90 billion in 2007 to $40 billion in 2010. It has been growing steadily since reaching bottom in early 2011, but has only recovered to an annual total rate of $78 billion. New starts in 2016 increased moderately. For 2017 spending remains in a tight range between $82 and $84 billion, with total 2017 growth coming in at just over +12%.
Lodging – this market recorded the largest drop of any, falling 75% from $36 billion in 2008 to $9 billion in 2011. However it recorded the strongest rebound of any market climbing 19% to 30% per year for the last 5 years. New starts in 2016 increased almost 40% setting up increased spending from starting backlog in 2017. In 2017, lodging will grow by 12% with a spending total of just over $30 billion. Lodging is still 2 years away from reaching previous highs. Lodging dropped to only 3% of total sector spending in 2011 but has rebounded to 7% in 2016.
Educational – previous highs of over $100 billion in both 2007 and 2008 are perhaps two years away. However, the rate of growth has been increasing slowly since 2014 from 1% to 4.8% to 6.5% annually. New starts have increased every year since 2012. Expect 2017 educational spending to increase by more than 10% to $98 billion. At peak, educational represented 30% of all nonresidential buildings spending. Now it’s only 22%.
Healthcare – this market has been very slow to recover, experiencing declines as recently as 2013 and 2014, hitting an 8 year low in 2014, when all other nonresidential building markets had already returned to growth. 2015 was a moderate growth year, up 5%, but 2016 increased less than 2%. Starts are indicating 5.6% growth to $44 billion for Healthcare spending in 2017. Healthcare has dropped from 14% to only 10% of all nonresidential buildings spending.
Amusement/Recreation – this market hit an 8 year low in 2013 but we’ve had 3 years of excellent growth of 10%/yr or more. 2017 is expected to increase 7.4% over 2016 to a total of $23 billion. This market is only 5%of nonresidential buildings spending.
Religious and Public Safety represent less than 3% of total nonresidential building spending. The religious bldg market has been declining since 2002 and is down 55%. Public Safety peaked in 2009 and has declined every year since, now down 40%.
U. S. Census posted November construction spending 0.9% higher than October and 4.1% higher than November 2015. Year-to-date spending through November is 4.4% higher than 2015.
With only one month to go, 2016 is predicted to finish at $1,166 billion, up 4.8% from 2015. December spending is projected to come in at an annual rate near $1,200 billion. At this point, in order for total 2016 spending to drop below $1,160 billion, December would need to fall 6% below November, a magnitude of change that simply does not occur from month to month.
Current monthly spending is at a 10 year high and on a current dollar basis (before adjusting for inflation) is exceeded in all historical spending by only 5 months at the peak spending in early 2006. By the 2nd quarter of 2017 spending will reach all-time highs on a current dollar basis. On a constant dollar basis adjusted for inflation we are still several years below peak spending.
Revised spending for September is 1.25% higher than original posted on 11-1-16 and for October is -0.1% lower than original posted 12-1-16. However, October data is still pending revision again on 2-1-17 and is expected to increase. In the last 3 years every month has been revised up from the original amount posted. 2016 monthly revisions year-to-date average +1.3%.
The table included here shows the predicted total 2016 spending compared to 1st 2016 estimates and current 2016 estimates provided from my data = CA (Construction Analytics) and from CMD (ConstructConnect) and FMI.