Recently, I asked readers, What is recovery? By definition, it seemed to me that some sort of Southeast construction "recovery" could be under way--at least in spots--despite industry observations to the contrary.

Well, one place where it seems as if recovery is taking hold is Florida. According to the latest information from McGraw-Hill Construction, for instance, the volume of new construction contracts increased by 44% in January, compared to a year ago, and delivered roughly $1.8 billion in work. (Granted, January 2011 was pretty bad.)

Could recovery be taking hold? Looking back at the last six months of reports from McGraw-Hill Construction, Florida's trajectory definitely seems positive overall. To illustrate, I've included the state's overall new contracts totals for the last six months, according to McGraw-Hill Construction's reports, and the percentage gain/loss represented. (NOTE: McGraw-Hill Construction reports on the value of new contracts for future construction. The company reports the full value of contracts at the project's commencement.)

January $1.8 billion +44%
December $1.3 billion -10%
November $1.7 billion +35%
October $1.8 billion +21%
September $1.7 billion +1%
August $2.0 billion +25%

Of course, Florida's construction market fell pretty hard during the downturn. And if the state's contract activity continued at an average rate equal to the highest of volumes included here--$2.0 billion per month--it would result in an annual total of about $24 billion. And that would be a mere fraction of the state's historic peak, which was nearly $72 billion for 2005.

Still, it seems to be positive news. And looking at the numbers here, the pace of new contracts appears to be attaining some level of consistency.

What do you think? Contractors working in Florida - let me hear your opinion about how you view activity in your areas!

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