Chart: Walter Konefal for ENR New construction starts in September were down 7% from the previous month and 3% from the cumulative first three quarters of last year, according to McGraw-Hill Construction. “The monthly pattern shows construction starts stabilizing at a low level but not reaching the point where renewed expansion is taking hold,” says Robert Murray, MHC’s chief economist. “A sustained upturn for overall construction remains several quarters away,” he says. The lift to public works from stimulus spending is subsiding, vacancy rates for commercial properties remain high, the tough fiscal climate for states makes it difficult for institutional
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.