Overall construction starts fell 5% in December, according Dodge Data & Analytics, bringing the total dollar number to $784.3 billion, seasonally adjusted.
Residential starts showed no change from the previous month, while non-residential building dropped 11% in the same time period. Non-building starts declined 5%.
Year-to-date, starts fell 10%, to $766.3 billion, non-seasonally adjusted. While non-residential starts and non-building starts decreased 24% and 14%, respectively, residential starts were 4% higher than in December 2019, due to increased activity in the single family sector.
Richard Branch, chief economist at Dodge Data & Analytics, points to warehouses and highway and bridges, in addition to single family homes, as “bright spots” for the past year.
“There will be difficult months ahead for the economy and for construction starts as COVID-19 cases mount,” says Branch. “However, the continued rollout of vaccines means 2021 will be a better year.”