Employment Slides, Costs Rise
Nationwide, seasonally adjusted construction employment in October totaled 6.5 million, down 27,000 (-0.4%) from September 2002, and down 103,000 (1.6%) from October 2002.
Seasonally adjusted construction employment for the month rose in 16 states plus D.C., was unchanged (or within 100 of the August total) in 16, and fell in 18. The largest monthly percentage increases were in Colorado, Delaware, D.C., Maryland, Montana and Wyoming (all 2%). The largest decreases were in Mississippi and Missouri (both -2%).
Over the past 12 months, construction employment rose in 21 states plus D.C., was unchanged in 1, and fell in 28. The largest percentage increases were in Montana (+9%), Kansas (+6%), Alaska and Hawaii (both +5%). The largest percentage decreases were in Georgia (-13%), Idaho (-10%) and Utah (-10%, but 2001 employment was boosted temporarily by preparation for the Winter Olympics).
In other construction news, general builder Turner Corp. recently forecast that construction costs in the fourth quarter of 2002 are will increase 0.16 percent from the third quarter.
The Turner Building Cost Index, which takes into account labor rates and productivity, material prices, and the competitive condition of the marketplace, is also forecast to increase to 620, one point above the third quarter figure and 0.65 percent above the fourth quarter 2001 index of 616.
"There is an increasing competitiveness for available projects in most geographic markets," according to Turner v.p. Karl F. Almstead. "The pricing pressures are offsetting any slight increases in labor and material costs."
Turner has made its quarterly forecast for more than 50 years. Used widely by the construction industry and Federal and State governments, the building costs and price trends tracked by the Turner Building Cost Index may or may not reflect regional conditions in any given quarter.