The value of new construction starts climbed 8% in July, helping to counteract sharp year-to-year declines, according to new statistics released by McGraw-Hill Construction. Through the first seven months of this year, the total dollar value of new construction starts was $236 billion, which was down 35% from the same period a year ago. “Since March, there has been an up-and-down pattern for construction starts, supporting the belief that a leveling-off process is now under way,” Robert Murray, MHC’s chief economist, points out. “Single-family housing, while still at extremely low volume, has shown improvement in five out of the past six months.” Public-works construction is beginning to reveal a faster pace for transportation-related projects, which are being helped by federal stimulus spending, Murray adds.

A Strong July Chips Away at Large Year-to-Year Declines
Source: Mcgraw-Hill Construction Analytics. Construction Contract Value Cumulative Year-To-Date through July 2009.