0.2%

Percentage increase in construction employment (+14,000 jobs) in April, marking the second straight month of improvement. Despite the latest two-month rise, which was limited to gains in the non-residential categories, employment in April totaled only 5,625,000, down 554,000 (-9%) from a year before and 2,100,000 (-27%) from the peak in August 2006.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

44%

Percentage of Americans who believe solar energy should become a standard method of heating homes in the United States, according to a Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Twenty-three percent (23%) of survey respondents did not see a standard heating role for solar energy in the nation’s housing and another 33% weren’t sure.

Source: Rasmussen Reports

5%

Percentage growth expected for home improvement spending in 2010. According to Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies, the gradual recovery in the broader economy should encourage more remodeling spending by homeowners.

Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

4.5%

Percentage increase in the value of non-residential construction starts from March 2009 compared to March 2010. For the first quarter, starts rose 8.6% from the same period last year.

Source: Reed Construction Data

-4.2%

Percentage decline in state tax revenues for the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to the same quarter a year earlier (and an 8.6% decline from the same period two years earlier) — a trend that is not good news for state funding of future construction projects.

Source: Rockefeller Institute of Government

33.7%

Percentage increase in U.S. manufacturing technology consumption from 2009 to 2010, posting a year-to-date total of $548.53 million. Looking at the most recent month’s data, March 2010 consumption totaled $258 million, up 58.1% from February 2010 and 49.5% from the total of $172.59 million reported for March 2009.

Source: American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association and The Association For Manufacturing Technology

1.1%

Percentage increase in NEMA’s Lighting Systems (LSI) Index (on a quarter-to-quarter basis) during the first quarter of 2010. On a year-over-year basis, the index posted a similar increase of 1.2%, marking the first time since the second quarter of 2006 that the LSI has registered an appreciable gain compared to the same period a year ago.

Source: NEMA

48.5

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) rating, as measured in April. Posting an increase for the third straight month, this figure was up from the 46.1 mark in March. Although this score reflects a continued decline in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings), it is the highest score since January 2008 when revenue at architecture firms headed into recession. “It appears that the design and construction industry may be nearing an actual recovery phase,” says AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The economic landscape is improving, although not across the board, but doing so at a gradual pace. It is quite possible that we will finally see positive business conditions in the foreseeable future.”

Source: The American Institute of Architects

11%

Percentage increase in the value of construction starts in January through April as compared with the same period the previous year.

Source: Reed Construction Data

24,600

Number of jobs added in April as a result of stimulus construction funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This total was preceded by 36,500 jobs created in March from stimulus money.

Source: Associated General Contractors of America