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WEX Releases Monthly Construction Fuel Consumption Index (FCI) Results
U.S. Construction Industry Fueling Increased 1.9% Year-Over-Year in March; Down 0.9% versus Previous Month
The WEX Construction FCI measures national fuel consumption statistics
for the construction industry, which provides an accurate and up-to-date
indication of construction activity in
WEX worked with
The indicators were tested at monthly, quarterly and annual frequencies,
with the greatest insights produced using the year-over-year percent
change of the monthly data. For
The WEX Construction FCI, which is available monthly in advance of the
Last month’s WEX Construction FCI reflected the continued year-over-year growth indicated by the seasonally-adjusted index in most of the government’s subsequent construction data releases. Construction spending excluding improvements – a good measure of activity – rose by 1.3% in February and private residential construction also increased in the same period by 3.3%. February housing permit statistics were promising, with total permits increasing by 4.6% and housing starts ticked up by 0.8% in February, to an annual rate of 917,000. Total construction put-in-place, which is released a month later than the WEX Construction FCI, increased by 1.2% in February. In March, the construction industry added 18,000 jobs after gaining 49,000 jobs in February, which is the industry’s sixth consecutive double-digit monthly increase.
According to the IHS analysis, the month-to-month decline in March for the WEX Construction FCI follows a decline in new home sales in February. New home sales fell by 4.6% in February to a 411,000-unit annual rate. Meanwhile, existing home sales rose 0.8% in February and total inventory increased by 9.6% to 1.94 million units.
Despite the increase in new home sales, the existing home inventory remains extremely lean and the lowest it has been in the month of February. This is also due to the fact that home prices continue to rise as inventories are lean, interest rates are low, the economy is growing and creating jobs, and the share of distressed homes is dropping. Additionally, higher home prices, in turn, are bringing more builders into the game. The housing market is expected to continue to improve and outperform the rest of the economy over the next few quarters, which is due to the low level of housing inventory and low interest rates.
The WEX Construction FCI for
News media contact:
Jessica Roy, 207-523-6763