Vermeulens has released its market outlook report for the first quarter of 2019. Key points include:
- Construction price escalation nationally has trended to 4 percent per annum for the first quarter of 2019.
- Construction cost trendline: Due to consistent increases in construction costs over the past few years, Vermeulens Index long-term trendline is up from 3.4 percent to 3.5 percent.
- Construction dollar volume growth has calmed and is ‐0.8 percent year over year (March 18 - March 19).
- Construction job growth: We are at full employment in the construction sector. Q1 has seen the addition of 47,000 construction jobs (0.64 percent) nationwide.
- Architectural billings declined for the first time in two years, falling most in the northeast, while the south continued to grow.
- New York Stock Exchange: The stock market has bounced back after the correction endured in Q4 2018. After falling 13 percent in Q4, the exchange has risen by 11.6 percent through Q1 2019.
- Growth in employment: Monthly average job growth through Q1 was 180,000 jobs, notably held back by a slow February (33,000).
- Gross Domestic Product: GDP maintained a strong annualized growth rate of 3.4 percent through Q1 2019.
- Commodities: Steel price level changed $886 (2018 Q4) to $920 (2019 Q1), forecast to remain steady at $920 next quarter, then decline to $860 by the end of the year. Oil price level changes $45.41 (2018 Q4) to $60.14 (2019 Q1) back up to Q3 2018 levels.
- Consumer Price Index: Q1 CPI rose slightly which resulted in the annual inflation rate remaining steady at 1.9 percent (2018 Q4 to 2019 Q1).
The complete Market Outlook – Q1 2019 report is available from Vermeulens.