September�s Construction Starts Lag 3% Behind 2009
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 projects to go ahead, and the mortgage and foreclosure problems may delay housing’s recovery, he says.