January 2023



Optimism in 2023

According to Dodge Construction Network Chief Economist Richard Branch, there remains cause for optimism within the construction industry despite ongoing economic uncertainty and labor challenges.

The industry remains very resilient, despite what seems like "a tidal wave against the sector in terms of material prices, labor shortages and what appear to be higher interest rates and a slower economy,” Branch says.

From an economic and technological standpoint, the construction industry has an opportunity to make great strides because of the incoming government funding directed at promoting infrastructure and manufacturing. Still, Branch advises caution, because much of the funding still needs to be appropriated by Congress annually—a slow process that can lead to some uncertainty.

Branch believes technological advances will play a larger role in making jobs more efficient and productive. “Productivity in construction has been slow to make gains. This is mainly because construction is just beginning to take advantage of innovative technological trends.” He suggests that more investment should be made in technology both on-site and for back offices and adds, “As an injection of innovation and resources joins a changing set of values at the end of Q3, the future of construction remains bright heading into Q4.”

Learn more here.

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From the Desk of Phil Ledent 

The Masonry Institute of Michigan recently elected its 2023 Board of Trustees. The Board of Record can be found here. At the first board meeting on January 26, we will elect our executive committee for the coming year. This year's Board of Trustees will be responsible for evolving the MIM to address our members' top prioritiesfirst, to market and promote the masonry industry and, second, to serve as the leading technical masonry resource for designers and constructors.

This year we will bring back our M-Day, which will focus solely on providing current information to architects, engineers and specifiers on masonry specifications. This year, we will also prioritize education through presentations, workshops and other training opportunities. Through our partnership with AOE, we will continue to focus on marketing the masonry industry. The most common answer I receive when I ask students what comes to mind when they think of masonry is "driveways." Together, we need work to change that perception. To create demand, we must educate the masses on the value and beauty that masonry offers. Although I will be challenging our Board of Trustees with many goals and priorities, this need is critical. We will be relying heavily on our members in 2023 to provide photos, projects updates and other content to help us achieve these goals and elevate our industry.

On the Road Again

Phil started the year off by meeting with INFORM Studio in Northville, MI to offer AIA/HSW training on masonry specifications. A big focus this year will be working with designers to update specifications to reflect current industry best practices. Our Generic Wall Design Committee continues to meet monthly, and our 2023 goals include many new FAQs, details and updated specifications. Phil and the MIM are also working with producers to set up plant tours for architects and engineers, and we have scheduled several AIA/HSW sessions on energy code requirements and fire resistance ratings.

If you would like Phil to present a workshop, a lunch and learn or provide training for your team, please reach out. 

Building Better Communities

MIM member William A. Kibbe & Associates provided structural engineering design services to the Walled Lake Consolidated School District for a number of school buildings located throughout southeast Michigan. A $316M Building, Infrastructure and Equity Bond, passed in 2019, has helped facilitate needed school upgrades, renovations, and new construction for the following projects: Dublin Elementary School (White Lake); Walled Lake Early Childhood Center (Novi); and Western High School (Walled Lake). MIM member AUCH Construction partnered with Kibbe on the project. More details, including drone footage provided by AUCH, can be found here.

In Case You Missed It

There are many benefits to hiring military veterans, including transferable skills like adaptability, team player mentality and leadership. While veterans bring their skills to a wide range of industries, some find that construction is a fantastic fit for their interests and capabilities. Read how to attract veterans here.

Construction spending during November 2022 was estimated at $1,807.5 billion, 8.5 percent above the November 2021 estimate. During the first 11 months of this year, construction spending amounted to $1,657.6 billion, 10.5 percent higher than the same period in 2021. Read more here.

The construction industry had 388,000 job openings in November, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey--an increase of 22,000 openings from the same time last year. Many employers continue to aim for expanded capacity to satisfy unmet demand. However, with a continued rise in interest rates adding to construction project financing costs expected, the stage is potentially set for sharp declines in activity in many privately financed construction segments.

Associated Builders and Contractors reported that its Construction Backlog Indicator remained unchanged at 9.2 months in December, according to an ABC member survey conducted December 20, 2022 to January 5, 2023. Backlog remains at its highest level since the second quarter of 2019. Read more here.

The Dodge Momentum Index (DMI) improved 6.6 percent in December from the revised November reading of 208.3. During the month, the DMI the commercial component of the DMI rose 8.4 percent and the institutional component ticked up 2.7 percent.

Calendar of Events


16-19 World

of Concrete

(Las Vegas, NV)

26 MIM Board Meeting (Brighton, MI)

26 MMCA News and Brews (BAD Brewing, Mason, MI), 4:30 - 7 p.m. ET. Details here.


2 MIM Generic Wall Design Committee Meeting (Brighton, MI)

16 MIM Annual Meeting and Strategic Business Plan Review (Grand Rapids, MI and Detroit, MI)

For details and to register, click here for Grand Rapids and here for Detroit.


2 MIM Generic Wall Design Committee Meeting (Lansing, MI)

From the A/E/C Community

"Thank you very much for our presentation today. You

gave much-needed insight to our consultant and the

California Masonry Council committee members. They were all

extremely impressed."

John Chrslyer, PE, FTMS

Masonry Institute of America

Professional Development

Tools & Resources

Membership Directory

Tip of the Month

When was the last time you looked at your masonry specification? Make sure you are correctly specifying grout for masonry by reading our new FAQ here. Keep an eye out for more new FAQs developed through the MIM Generic Wall Design Committee.

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Phone: 313-212-5784

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