August construction rises 2 percent

By |  September 20, 2013

New construction starts in August advanced 2 percent compared with July, according to McGraw-Hill Construction. According to the firm, nonbuilding construction rebounded after momentum was lost in July. At the same time, McGraw-Hill Construction says nonresidential building retreated from an improved July, continuing the up-and-down pattern that’s occurred throughout the year.

The August data lifted the firm’s Dodge Index to 104. The index was at 102 for July. So far this year, the index has hovered between 98 and 106 after averaging a 103 in 2012.

“On balance, the construction industry is showing modest growth in 2013, although by major sector there’s been divergent behavior,” says Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction. “Housing continues to lead the way, with consistent gains reported for both single and multifamily housing. Public works has edged up slightly from last year, helped by the start of several very large projects and withstanding for now the negative impact of the sequester. New electric utility starts have fallen substantially from last year’s record volume.

“However, it’s been more problematic to discern this year’s trend for nonresidential building – the commercial categories are hesitantly picking up the pace, but the institutional categories are still languishing,” Murray adds. “A more solid expansion for total construction requires a greater contribution from nonresidential building, which has yet to occur.”

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