Level of builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in April, which is down one notch from the previous month. The index has now held at 16 for five of the last six months (any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor). According to NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe, the spring home buying season is off to a slow start due to persistent concerns about home values as more foreclosures seem to be hitting the market, increasingly restrictive lending requirements for home buyers and builders, and the slow pace of economic recovery. “While pockets of improving activity are appearing in some markets, the best sales activity appears to be happening in the lower price ranges, where first-time buyers have greater flexibility than repeat buyers who must sell their current home,” he says.
Source: National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI)
Number of electrical vehicles the Obama Administration is calling for the country to put on the road by 2015. In an effort to build the nation’s leadership in technologies that reduce our dependence on oil, this strategy is expected to incorporate a rebate plan for consumers who buy electric vehicles, modeled after 2009’s “Cash for Clunkers” program.
Source: Department of Energy
Nonresidential Construction Index (NRCI) reading for the first quarter of 2011. This is the highest reading FMI has recorded since it started the Index in the fourth quarter of 2007, just as the economy entered what came to be known as the Great Recession. Although almost every component of the NRCI is improving, commercial, lodging, and office construction still indicate slow improvement.
Number of states in which construction employment dropped between February and March. Putting the trend into greater perspective, 33 states lost construction jobs during the past 12 months, according to analysis of state employment data released by the Labor Department.
Source: Associated General Contractors of America
Amount of wind power capacity under construction in 2011. Currently, the United States has 10,400 GW of onshore wind energy potential and another 4,150 GW of offshore wind energy potential.
Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory