Highway and bridge construction starts climb 27 percent

construction-employeeThe value of new construction starts dipped four percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $589.8 billion. According to Dodge Data & Analytics, the decline followed a 10 percent increase reported in September, which was the strongest month for total construction starts thus far this year.

However, highway and bridge construction starts saw a big boost in October, climbing 27 percent. The boost was was supported by the $598 million Northwest Corridor project in Atlanta GA.

Through the first ten months of 2014, the top five states for highway and bridge construction starts were Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio.  States ranked six through ten were Florida, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, and New Jersey.

Aside from highway and bridge construction, the rest of the industry saw a decline. Both nonresidential building and nonbuilding construction lost momentum in October, while residential building posted a moderate gain given further growth for multifamily housing.  During the first ten months of 2014, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $475.8 billion, up five percent from the same period a year ago.

Nonresidential building dipped 14 percent in October to $195.2 billion (annual rate), following its 13 percent increase in September.

Nonbuilding construction, decreased nine percent to $148.7 billion (annual rate) in October.  The decline was reportedly due to a 67 percent plunge for electric utilities after unusually strong activity in September.

Residential building in October climbed 11 percent to $245.9 billion (annual rate).  After a 20 percent slide September, multifamily housing had a particularly strong month in October, up 40 percent.

The five percent increase for total construction starts on an unadjusted basis during the first ten months of 2014 was the result of mixed behavior by the three main construction sectors.  Nonresidential building advanced 14 percent year-to-date, with commercial building up 14 percent; manufacturing building up 52 percent; and institutional building up five percent.

Residential building improved seven percent year-to-date, with single family housing up only two percent while multifamily housing increased by 25 percent.  Nonbuilding construction has dropped eight percent year-to-date, with public works down seven percent and electric utilities down 14 percent.

Total construction starts during the January-October period of 2014 showed growth in all five regions, the South Central is up 13 percent; the South Atlantic and the West are both up four percent; and the Northeast and the Midwest have both climbed one percent.