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New construction starts in June decreased 7 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $595.1 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. Nonresidential building registered moderate growth in June after sliding back in April and May. Through the first six months of 2016, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $318.1 billion, down 11 percent from the same period a year ago.

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Construction backlog among the nation’s largest contractors now stands above 12 months, a record for Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) Construction Backlog Indicator (CBI). The biggest firms with the greatest capacity to attract talent have been able to accept work that others have to turn away due to a market that has stabilized at a comfortable level. However, the industry still faces a skilled worker shortage.

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Craft brewing has grown immensely in recent years. A study conducted by the Brewers Association found the number of operating U.S. breweries increased 15 percent in 2015, setting a record total of 4,269 facilities. This growth is especially evident in the southern United States, where the association reports the fastest growth. Not only is the craft brewing industry booming, but the industries that provide supporting products and services—including construction—are growing as well.

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Real gross domestic product (GDP) expanded only 0.5 percent (seasonally adjusted annual rate) during 2016’s first quarter, according to an analysis of Bureau of Economic Analysis data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). This disappointing figure follows a 1.4 percent annualized rate of economic output expansion during the fourth quarter of 2015.  

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The U.S. construction industry added 45,000 jobs in April, according to the May 8 Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary estimate. March’s estimate was revised downward from -1,000 to -9,000 net new jobs. Nonresidential construction employment increased by 12,400 jobs in April, with nonresidential specialty trade contractors leading the way with 20,200 new jobs. Nonresidential building employment plummeted for the month, losing 7,800 jobs. The residential sector bounced back in April, adding 23,600 jobs.

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