By |  August 27, 2013

New construction starts in July decreased 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $479.1 billion, according to McGraw-Hill Construction. July statistics lowered the Dodge Index to 101, down from a revised 103 for June.

The nonbuilding construction sector, comprised of public works and electric utilities, pulled back 18 percent in July after several large projects lifted the category in June. At the same time, nonresidential building strengthened by 8 percent, regaining some of the upward momentum that began to take hold in April and May. Residential building showed 3 percent growth.

For the first seven months of 2013, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were reported at $281.7 billion – up 1 percent from the same period a year ago. The year-to-date amount for total construction was restrained by a steep decline for new electric utility starts. If electric utilities are excluded, total construction starts for this year’s January-through-July period would be up 11 percent.

“Aside from the public works shortfall, the July statistics provided evidence that the hesitant expansion for construction is proceeding,” says Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction. “Housing continues to show upward movement, and the pace of commercial building continues to pick up gradually from very low levels. The institutional building portion of nonresidential building, which generally weakened during the first half of 2013, strengthened in July, suggesting that it may now be starting to stabilize.”

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