Vermeulens has released its market outlook report for the fourth quarter of 2020. Key points include:
Construction Prices: Remain flat through Q4 of 2020, with one in ten projects showing cost reductions with strong contractor coverage across the board.
Fed Watch: The Federal Reserve continued monetary stimulus.
Architectural Billings: Q4 has returned to growth in inquiries; however, three quarters of billing declines in 2020 will result in a lower volume for the first half of 2021.
Construction Dollar Volume: Residential construction continues to boom, reaching new highs in Q4; non‐residential construction finished the year down 3.5%, while infrastructure spending recovered back to early Q1 2020 levels.
Construction Job Growth: Approximately 152,000 construction jobs were added in Q4, or 2.0%; construction employment is still down 3.0% since its Q1 highs.
New York Stock Exchange: The stock market grew by 14.4% in Q4 and has completely recovered, reaching new highs in Q4; overall the NYSE is up 3.73% in 2020.
Growth in Employment: Monthly average job growth through Q4 was 0.28 million; recovery continues at a slow pace, indicated by the six‐month rolling average which is now at +0.8 million.
Gross Domestic Product: Initial GDP projections point to an annualized growth rate of 3.95% for Q4 2020; after a strong recovery in Q3, GDP growth is trending back to sustainable levels.
Commodities: COVID-19 projections, a declining USD, residential construction spikes, and natural disasters have created short-term price spikes in both PVC (30%) and lumber (100%); steel continues to climb, particularly for non-standard shapes.
Consumer Price Index: After fully recovering in Q3, CPI rose 0.6% in Q4 and is +1.29% year over year (December 19/ December 20).
The complete Market Outlook – Q4 2020 report is available from Vermeulens.