New construction starts in August soared 21 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $711.2 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics, following lackluster activity in July.
“The sharp rise in August makes it likely when September data becomes available that construction starts for the third quarter will be able to register moderate growth, supporting the belief that the construction industry still has room for further expansion despite some recent deceleration” stated Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics.
The August rise for total construction starts featured an especially elevated amount for nonresidential building, which was helped by the start of a $3 billion petrochemical plant in Louisiana, the $1.7 billion Wynn Casino in the Boston MA area, and a $508 million terminal upgrade at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The nonbuilding construction sector also experienced strong growth, with its public works segment lifted by the start of a $3 billion natural gas pipeline project in the states of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.
In addition, residential building contributed with a moderate August gain, reflecting another advance for multifamily housing which included groundbreaking for the $900 million Wanda Vista Tower in Chicago.
Through the first eight months of 2016, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $439.3 billion, down 7 percent from a year ago.
As 2016 is proceeding, the year-to-date decline for total construction is becoming smaller, affected to a lesser extent by the comparison to the massive projects reported during the first half of 2015 and now benefitting from the start of several massive projects in this year’s second half. If projects valued at $1 billion or more are excluded, total construction starts during the first eight months of 2016 would be down a slight 1 percent, or essentially even, with a year ago.
For more of the Dodge Data & Analytics August report, click here: