Vermeulens has released its market outlook report for the fourth quarter of 2019. Key points include:
- Construction price escalation nationally has trended to 4% per annum for Q4 2019.
- Fed Watch: The Federal Reserve continued monetary stimulus.
- 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%.
- Architectural billings had positive growth in Q4, overturning declining numbers through the previous two quarters.
- Construction dollar volume trended upward in Q4 and is now +4.05% year over year (Dec 18/Dec 19).
- Construction job growth: Approximately 23,000 construction jobs were added this quarter, or 0.3 percent.
- New York Stock Exchange: The stock market grew by almost 7% in Q4, reaching new highs and moving strong into the new year. Overall the NYSE gained 22.2% through 2019.
- Growth in employment: Monthly average job growth through Q4 was 211,000. The six-month rolling average has climbed up to 206,000 indicating a strong six-month period since the lowly 85,000 jobs added in May 2019.
- Gross Domestic Product: GDP maintained a strong annualized growth rate of 2.3 percent through Q4 2019. Long term expectations have fallen slightly.
- Commodities: Steel price level changed from $761 (2019 Q3) to $727 (2019 Q4). US steel import tariffs of 25% were lifted in May 2019. Oil prices changed from $54.07 (2019 Q3) to $61.06 (2019 Q4), fluctuating between a high of $61.72 and a low of $52.45.
- Consumer Price Index: Q4 CPI continued to increase, reaching +2.06% year over year (Dec 18/Dec 19).
The complete Market Outlook – Q4 2019 report is available from Vermeulens.