Construction starts up 11 percent for March 2018

By |  April 20, 2018

New construction starts in March increased 11 percent from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $785.2 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics.

The gain comes on the heels of slight declines in January (down 2 percent) and February (down 3 percent). The 11 percent uptick brings the pace of total construction starts to the highest level over the past six months.

The nonbuilding construction sector soared 73 percent in March, boosted by the start of several large projects relating to public works and electric utilities/gas plants. These projects include the $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline expansion in West Virginia and Virginia, the $1.1 billion I-405 highway project in Orange County, California, the $855 million Grand Parkway highway project in Houston, and a $400 million wind farm in Kansas.

“The construction start statistics can show wide swings month to month, and March certainly qualifies as one of the stronger months due to the inclusion of several very large projects,” says Robert Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics.

Nonresidential and residential building, however, saw respective declines of 1 percent and 2 percent in March. 

During the first three months of 2018, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were down 7 percent from 2017, totaling $167.3 million.

On a 12-month moving total basis, total construction starts for that period, ending March 2018, were up 1 percent from the previous 12 months ending March 2017.

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