Report Update: Measuring Construction Activity with AI (March 1, 2020 to April 17, 2020)

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OxBlue’s artificial intelligence (AI) tools are now being used to measure the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on construction activity across the United States. The full analysis looked at all 50 states and more than 100 metropolitan areas between March 1st, 2020, and April 17th, 2020.

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OxBlue.com, an Atlanta-based technology company and the leader in professional construction camera services, is using its artificial intelligence (AI) tools to measure the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on construction activity across the United States. The full analysis looked at all 50 states and more than 100 metropolitan areas between March 1st, 2020, and April 17th, 2020.

The Two Realities: State vs. National Activity Levels

At the state level, construction activity has seen a great deal of change. The number of states with a minimal impact (5% or less) on ongoing construction activity has decreased from 37 to 33 states. The number of states with a general decline in activity (between 5% and 25%) has increased from 7 to 11, and those with the most severe decline in activity (between 25% and 77%) has remained at 6, with Colorado replacing Ohio on the list.

Michigan is the state with the largest decline in activity, with an 81% drop after a stay-at-home order deeming construction non-essential went into effect on March 24th. Pennsylvania, which issued its similar stay-at-home order deeming construction non-essential on March 19th, experienced the second most dramatic drop at approximately 69%. Other states with traditionally high construction volumes experiencing significant change include Massachusetts (58% decline), New York (48% decline), Washington (45% decline), and Colorado (27% decline).

While California did not make the list of states with greater than a 25% decline, its 14% decline is significant due to the state being the largest economy in the U.S. and the fifth-largest in the world.

At a national level, the data is more positive. Construction activity is tracking near the same levels measured for early March 2020. With 60% of the country’s construction concentrated in 10 states and only two of those being hit with more than a 25% decline (NY and PA), the disproportionately high level of construction in those states drives the level of national construction activity. Only six states (Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, Vermont) have deemed construction nonessential.

Under normal circumstances, it would be expected to see construction activity increase in spring in some parts of the country, but we see no such increase. It is possible that this has been offset by the pandemic.

As the crisis continues, OxBlue will share regular updates on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting the construction industry and on the technology being developed to combat the spread of the virus.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at (888) 849-2583 or online at oxblue.com/contact.

Notes: The time period in this analysis includes the 35 workdays (weekdays) from March 2, 2020, to April 17, 2020. The current baseline for the OxBlue Activity Index is the average activity level for the days from March 1st to March 19th, the date Pennsylvania issued its strict shelter-in-place order. The data analyzed is from commercial construction projects and excludes single-family residential construction. States with low levels of construction activity and without statistically significant data have been excluded for accuracy. National construction activity is based on a weighted average of the construction volume for each state.

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Megan McGinnis
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