February construction starts slip 3 percent

By |  March 27, 2018

New construction starts were down 3 percent in February, according to a report from Dodge Data & Analytics.

The slip in new construction starts is based on a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $708.1 billion.

The 3 percent slip comes on the heels of a 2 percent drop in new construction starts in January. The February statistics produced a reading of 150 for the Dodge Index, compared to 154 for January.

“The 152 average for the Dodge Index during the first two months of 2018 is the same as the 152 average reported for the fourth quarter of 2017,” says Robert Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics.

The nonbuilding construction sector was at $118.2 billion (annual rate) in February, a drop of 23 percent, leading to the decline in total construction starts. Meanwhile, nonresidential building grew by 5 percent ($246.7 billion) while residential building improved by 1 percent ($343.3 billion).

During the first two months of 2018, total construction starts were down 7 percent from the same period in 2017. On a 12-month moving total basis, however, total construction starts for the 12 months ending Feb. 2018 were up two percent from the 12-month period ending February 2017.

“Material prices have risen over the past year, and the tariffs on steel and aluminum announced by the Trump administration will lead to further price hikes,” Murray says.

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