Capitol Update 06.14.2024

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from Mark Smith, Advocate, California Builders Alliance

Dodge Momentum Index up 2.7% in May

A 5.5% improvement in commercial planning fueled a 2.7% gain in the Dodge Momentum Index for May while institutional planning declined 3.4% from April. Overall the index is up 40% from a year before as "owners and developers are gaining confidence in 2025 market conditions, alongside more stable and predictable interest rates," says Sarah Martin, associate director of forecasting at Dodge Construction Network. Full Story: Dodge Data & Analytics

CPI for all items unchanged in May; shelter up

In May, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers was unchanged, seasonally adjusted, and rose 3.3 percent over the last 12 months, not seasonally adjusted. The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in May (SA); up 3.4 percent over the year (NSA).

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PPI for final demand falls 0.2% in May; goods decrease 0.8%, services unchanged

The Producer Price Index for final demand declined 0.2 percent in May. Prices for final demand goods declined 0.8 percent, and the index for final demand services was unchanged. The index for final demand advanced 2.2 percent for the 12 months ended in May.

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Dodge: 13% improvement in starts seen for 2025

Nonbuilding starts are expected to lead the way as Dodge Data & Analytics predicts a 13% gain in total construction starts across the San Diego region next year. However, the total of $10.5 billion would be down 25% from 2021, although the non-building category at $2.7 billion would be up nearly 60% from the 2023 total. Full Story: Engineering News-Record (tiered subscription model)

Construction industry adds 20,500 new jobs in May

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports particularly strong volume of new construction jobs in May, with 20,500 new additions. The nonresidential specialty trade contractors category rose by 13,000. Meanwhile, nonresidential building increased by 3,000, and heavy and civil engineering construction rose by 1,000. Full Story: Engineering News-Record (tiered subscription model)

Inflation slows more than expected in May

The consumer price index slowed to a 3.3% year-over-year increase in May, below economists' expectation of 3.4%, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The core CPI increased 3.4% year over year, less than the expected 3.5%. The slowdown appears to have been insufficient to persuade the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates during a meeting this week, as investors price in one or two quarter-percentage-point cuts this year. Full Story: Financial Times CNBC Bloomberg The Wall Street Journal

Dollar climbs on hot US data, delayed rate cut hopes

A Bloomberg index of dollar strength climbed 0.8% to its highest level in over a month following strong US jobs data. An increase in nonfarm payrolls delayed odds of a rate cut from the Federal Reserve, with the swaps market expecting a cut no earlier than December. Full Story: Bloomberg

How water infrastructure can avoid drowning in inflation

Water infrastructure professionals face increasing challenges due to inflation, which complicates budgeting for repairs, maintenance and upgrades, Emily Newton writes. She notes that forces specialized construction crews, utilizing microgrids and leveraging government funding can help mitigate these costs and improve infrastructure efficiency and resilience. Full Story: Utility Contractor

Blue collar work is becoming trendy

There is a growing trend where young people are embracing blue-collar jobs and gaining popularity on social media in the process. Full Story: The Wall Street Journal  

Expanded rule for OSHA walkarounds takes effect

A wider variety of third parties are now allowed to join worksite OSHA investigations under the agency's new walk-around rule, now in effect. Nonemployees designated by workers are included, but employers are investigating how they can challenge parties who don't meet designated criteria. Full Story: Facility Executive

H-2B visa rules a hurdle as small businesses seek workers

Small businesses that depend on seasonal work are struggling to find domestic workers and need foreign workers, but restrictions in the H-2B visa program make that difficult. The construction and manufacturing industries had more than 1 million job openings as of February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Full Story: Reason

Calif.'s reduced carbon mandates gets new tool

As of next month, non-residential buildings of a certain size in California must meet the state's landmark CALGreen requirements for a 10% reduction in embodied carbon. A software program from One Click LCA promises to help owners come into compliance. Full Story: Building Design+Construction  

Calif. settles on tunnel to solve highway landslides

The California Department of Transportation plans to build the state's longest tunnel as its preferred solution for a 3-mile section of Highway 101 notoriously plagued by landslides. The tunnel, which would stretch 6,000 feet, was selected among alternatives that included re-engineering and various bypasses. Full Story: Times-Standard (Eureka, Calif.)

$37M in federal funds to tackle San Diego stormwater

San Diego will use $37 million in federal funding awarded as a $32 million low-interest loan and a $5 million grant to help modernize its stormwater infrastructure. "Upgrading our aging stormwater system is vital to protect our neighborhoods and environment from the increasing threat posed by climate change and severe weather," said Mayor Todd Gloria. Full Story: The San Diego Union-Tribune (tiered subscription model)


Mark Smith
California Builders Alliance
5370 Elvas Avenue ǀ Sacramento, CA 95819
Cell: 916.335.5072

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