The Quikrete Industry Dashboard

An encouraging jobs report leads the weekly metrics summary.
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A better than expected jobs report appears on the latest version of the Quikrete Industry Dashboard in the form of a slightly improving unemployment rate.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning that the unemployment rate improved to 3.4. percent in January, compared to 3.5 percent in December. A year ago, the stat stood at 4.0 percent.

The bureau also reported that the construction sector added 25,000 jobs in January, reflecting an employment gain in specialty trade contractors (+22,000). The January jobs growth was above average — the construction industry grew by an average of 22,000 per month in 2022.

Total job growth was also above average – and also above analyst expectations. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 517,000 in January. The average monthly gain in 2022 was 401,000.

Also on the latest version of the Industry dashboard, the Consumer Confidence Index declined to 107.1, down from 109.0 last month. A year ago, the index stood at 111.1.

“Consumers’ assessment of present economic and labor market conditions improved at the start of 2023,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director, economics at The Conference Board.  “However, the Expectations Index retreated in January reflecting their concerns about the economy over the next six months.”

Ozyildirim added: “Meanwhile, purchasing plans for autos and appliances held steady, but fewer consumers are planning to buy a home—new or existing.”

Elsewhere on Industry Dashboard, the average price for a gallon of regular is $3.49, up from $3.23 a month ago, according to the American Automobile Association’s latest measure.

Coming next: The U.S. Department of Commerce will release its monthly residential construction report for January on Feb. 16. In the December report, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of total starts stood at 1.382 million, a decline from 1.401 million in the prior month. Single-family starts in December were at a pace of 909,000, up from 817,000 in November.

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