Vermeulens has released its market outlook report for the second 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 to 3.5 percent.
- Construction dollar volume has declined in past months and is ‐2.1 percent year over year (Jun 18 - Jun 19).
- Construction job growth: We are at full employment in the construction sector. Q2 has seen the addition of 53,000 construction jobs (0.71 percent) nationwide.
- Architectural billings declined for the second time in four months, falling most in the northeast, while the south continued to grow.
- New York Stock Exchange: The stock market held relatively consistent levels through Q2 2019, rising 2.8 percent since Q1.
- Growth in employment: Monthly average job growth through Q2 was 157,000 jobs, held back by a second low growth month in the past six (62,000 in May). A second low growth month has brought the 6‐month rolling average down to 141,000.
- Gross Domestic Product: GDP maintained a strong annualized growth rate of 2.3 percent through Q2 2019. Long term expectations have fallen slightly.
- Commodities: Steel price level changed from $920 (2019 Q1) to $877 (2019 Q2). The forecast is to fall to $840 next quarter, and rise back to $855 by the end of the year. Oil prices changed from $60.14 (2019 Q1) to $58.47 (2019 Q2), fluctuating between a high of $66 and a low of $51.
- Consumer Price Index: Q2 CPI rose slightly which resulted in the annual inflation rate remaining steady at 1.9 percent (2019 Q1 to 2019 Q2).
The complete Market Outlook – Q2 2019 report is available from Vermeulens.