- The value of March nonresidential construction starts shot up 18% from February to $28.5 billion, significantly higher than the typical February-to-March increase of 2.5% and much more typical of the standard March-to-April rise of 12%, CMD reported.
- Usually, March-to-April figures show the greatest month-to-month increase in starts each year. CMD noted that February’s original figure has been upwardly revised to $24 billion from $19.1 billion, with additional starts in the parking garage, private office building and hospitals/clinics categories.
- Year-to-date starts are up 1.6%, and January-to-March 2016 starts are up 9.8% compared to the same period a year ago.
Month-to-month, total jobs in architectural and engineering services stayed the same; however, year-over-year, the jobs figure increased 2.5%. CMD noted architectural and engineering jobs have seen 2% to 3% increases for the last 22 months, which brings this category to a near pre-recession high.
CMD also reported that the latest Employment Situation Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reflected a 37,000-job uptick in March for the construction industry, which is 2016’s biggest increase in employment so far and much higher than January or February. However, as construction unemployment hit its lowest March level since 2001, the Associated General Contractors of America cautioned that the industry still faces a labor shortage, even though companies are discovering ways to draw workers.
All categories showed positive month-to-month increases in March, with institutional (27.2%) and heavy engineering (20.7%) representing the biggest winners. The commercial category increased 11.3%, while the volatile industrial category gained 5.2%.
CMD's 10 largest project starts of the month were mostly dispersed through the country, with the exception of Maryland and Alabama, as each state was home to two projects on the list. The top six projects in dollar value were the Harbor Point Mixed Use Complex — Baltimore, MD ($1 billion); Daytona Beach Convention Hotel and Condos — Daytona Beach, FL ($450 million); OHSU Patient Housing and Parking Garage — Portland, OR ($349 million); Washington Adventist Hospital — Silver Spring, MD (331 million); Cannon House Office Phase 1-4, Alterations — Washington, DC ($300 million); Aurobindo Pharma USA East Windsor Warehouse — East Windsor, NJ ($300 million).