New construction starts in February climbed 5% from the previous month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $440.9 billion, according to McGraw-Hill Construction. Much of the lift was provided by the public works sector, which through the first two months of 2010 was running 4% ahead of the same period of 2009, says MHC chief economist Robert Murray. Among the top public works projects adding to February’s starts was the $917-million DFW Connector project serving the Dallas-Ft. Worth International airport. In addition, sewer and water projects in February increased 15% and 39%, respectively, “picking up momentum after the diminished contracting reported over the past year,” says Murray.

Source: McGraw-Hill Construction analytics. Construction contract value cumulative year-to-date through February 2010