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August 2014 Economic News

This Month in Numbers:
8.2% - Construction employers added 6,000 workers in June, matching May's job growth and cutting the industry's unemployment rate from 9.8 percent in June 2013 to 8.2 percent, a six-year low for the month. Total employment reached 6.015 million, an increase of 186,000 jobs, or 3.2 percent year-over-year. Despite the nominal improvements, the number of unemployed who last worked in construction declined by 1.075 million over the past six years, but industry employment increased by just 512,000. Credit: Census Bureau

53 - Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes rose four points to a score of 53 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, according to a July 16 report. The score is a key milestone for the index, as any reading over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor. The score has risen eight points since May.

Landscape Communications Stock Index:
Three-Month Moving Average, July - 2610.08
Three-Month Moving Average, July 2013 - 2243.22

The Landscape Communications Stock Index (LCSI) is a compilation of approximately 60 landscape and construction companies with publicly traded stocks. On a three-month moving average ending July 15, the LCSI increased 16.4 percent year-over-year. The LCSI provides insight into the business side of the landscape industry, and is updated daily at

New Residential Construction, June:
Housing Starts
893,000 - annual rate, housing starts, seasonally adjusted (SA)
-9.3% - rate change since May 2014 (SA)
+7.5% - rate change since June 2013 (SA)
2.27 - annual rate peak (millions), January 2006

Building Permits
963,000 - annual rate, new building permits (SA)
+2.7% - rate change since June 2013 (SA)
-4.2% - rate change since May 2014 (SA)
2.26 - annual rate peak (millions), September 2005

Residential construction activity declined in all categories from May to June for the second consecutive month. Construction levels remain higher than year-ago levels, however, for housing starts and permits for new construction, according to the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Economic Benefits of Landscape Upgrades
Homes with "excellent" landscaping can generate a sale price about six to seven percent higher than comparable houses with "good" landscaping, according to a Clemson University study. Improving a landscape from "average" to "good" can result in a four to five percent increase.

According to the American Public Power Association, landscaping can reduce air conditioning by as much as 50 percent by shading the windows and walls of a home.

A single urban tree can provide up to $273 a year in air conditioning, pollution fighting, erosion and storm water control, and wildlife shelter benefits. As stated in American Forests, trees can reduce temperatures by as much as nine degrees Fahrenheit.

Investment in residential landscape improvements can bring a recovery value of 100 to 200 percent at selling time, according to Money Magazine. By comparison, kitchen remodeling brings a 75 to 125 percent recovery rate, and swimming pools a 20 to 50 percent recovery rate. Credit: Illinois Landscape Contractors Association

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April 22, 2019, 11:47 am PDT

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