“The positive signs of growth are encouraging and align with other economic data,” says Bernard Markstein, U.S. Chief Economist, Reed Construction Data. “With an Expansion Index greater than 1 in 41 states plus the District of Columbia, the expected improvement in construction appears widespread across the country.”
The Expansion Index is a monthly measure of expectations for the construction marketplace over the upcoming 12 to 18 months, based on the value of projects in the planning pipeline. A reading greater than 1 indicates construction volume is expected to expand.
In addition to an overall measure of U.S. construction, Reed uses the Expansion Index to track expected construction volume for every state and more than 360 Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
According to Markstein, multiple factors are supporting the positive signal.
“Many pieces are falling into place for a moderately faster-growing economy,” states Markstein. “Companies are experiencing rising demand. A federal budget deal was signed into law. Residential construction continues to improve. Europe is slowly working its way out of recession. These and other positives mean the Reed Expansion Index is likely to remain well above 1 for several months–an indication that construction activity will rise throughout the year.”
The Expansion Index is a ratio of the value of projects in the planning phase over the value of the projects estimated to be still under construction in a defined geography and/or building segment. The relationship says if more in the pipeline than underway, the volume will increase in the future if that ratio is greater than 1. The data covered includes non-residential and multifamily residential construction.