Construction Starts Are Down 11% From First Half of 2015
Total construction starts fell 7% in June, continuing downward pressure on markets, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The weak June forced year-to-year starts for the first half of 2016 11% below the same period for 2015. Non-building construction was down 22% for the year, while the non-residential building market fell 19%. Residential buildings posted a modest 4% annual gain. “Over a broader time frame, the year-to-date comparisons during the first half of 2016 were skewed by a number of projects valued at $1 billion or more that started in last year’s first half,” says Robert Murray, Dodge’s chief economist. “There were fewer such projects in the second half of 2015, which should help the year-to-year comparisons as 2016 proceeds,” he adds. Public works in June were pulled down by a 65% plunge in miscellaneous projects, which includes oil and natural-gas pipelines. In May, Dodge registered a $3.8-billion pipeline start, which June could not match. Despite being down from a year ago, non-residential building starts are strengthening, says Murray. In June, that market got a boost from four large office-building projects, totaling $592 million. Health care climbed 22% in June, boosted by three large hospital jobs, totaling $477 million.