9.17.2018 #fuelme | Construction’s backlog bigger than ever, int’l construction market grows huge, and remaking big box stores

Here’s a quick glance around the web, bringing you a taste of the news you need to know this week.


The international construction market reaches mammoth proportions.

Owing partly to construction in developing countries taking off—as well as world population growth and infrastructure spending—the global construction market was valued at around $17,000 billion (say what?!?) in 2017, and is expected to shoot past $24,000 billion by 2021, according to new data from the Business Research Company.

Meanwhile, construction is having trouble getting its work done.

I think we can call it a comeback. Construction boom times are back—so much so that they have overwhelmed the industry, in the U.S. at least (which is of course short on workers). Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) reports that its Construction Backlog Indicator is at a record high of 9.9 months, up 12 percent from the second quarter of this year. Industrial construction is pushing that number up. Another area increasing the backlog: the technology sector, which is has cities like Seattle, San Jose, Portland and Provo, Utah bursting at the seams.

Minority union members make more money than non-members—up for debate?

Crain’s New York Business is playing host to a battle royale between unions and union nay-sayers about whether construction unions are good for minorities. A response to an earlier post on behalf of the Center for Union Facts was published this week, by Louis Coletti of the Building Trade Employers’ Association, asserting that the facts show minority construction workers fare just as well as whites in unions—and much better than if they weren’t members.

The new construction frontier: vacated retail spaces

Big box stores have been vacating as failing retailer chains like Sears and Toys R’ Us ship out. A Chicago’s Daily Herald column discusses the many options for developers and buyers: break the space up, use it “as is” for experiential businesses like trampoline parks or climbing gyms, tear out all internal structure or save on construction costs by repurposing some of it.

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