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WEX Releases Monthly Construction Fuel Consumption Index (FCI) Results
U.S. Construction Industry Fueling Increased 3.2% Year-Over-Year in April, Down 0.7% 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 IHS to capture and analyze transaction data from its closed loop network, which includes over 90 percent of the domestic retail fuel locations. With this data, the WEX Construction FCI can be used to identify emerging trends within the construction industry and the national economy.
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 seventh consecutive month of year-over-year growth indicated by the seasonally-adjusted index in most of the government’s subsequent construction data releases. Private residential construction increased by 1.4% in March; however, construction spending excluding improvements – a good measure of activity – fell by 1.7% in the same period. Housing starts jumped by 7.0% to an annual rate of 1,036,000 while total housing permit statistics dropped in March by 3.9%. Total construction put-in-place, which is released a month later than the WEX Construction FCI, declined by 1.7% in March. The total employment report was positive with an increase of 165,000 jobs, but the construction industry lost 6,000 jobs in April.
According to the IHS analysis, despite the month-to-month decline in April for the WEX Construction FCI, the housing market has been showing signs of improvement. New home sales increased by 1.5% in March to a 417,000-unit annual rate. Meanwhile, existing home sales rose 0.6% in March and total inventory increased by 1.6%, but remains extremely lean.
Home prices continue to rise as a result of lean inventories, low interest rates, the growing economy, and the decreased share of distressed homes. 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 recovery in housing would be even stronger if it was not for the difficult lending requirements facing would-be buyers.
The WEX Construction FCI for
Jessica Roy, 207-523-6763