CMD: Nov. construction starts down a seasonal 2.5%
The value of November nonresidential construction starts fell 2.5% from October to $24.0 billion, in line with a standard, seasonal November-to-October decline of -2%, according to a CMD Group report. In addition, although total jobs in architectural and engineering services were down -0.1%, the percentage is still positive year-over-year, at 2.7%.
Month-to-month heavy engineering numbers were down 10.4%, offsetting the gains in both the commercial (3.7%) and institutional (3.6%) sectors. Industrial came back this month with a 29.6% gain after a sizable drop in October but represents a lower dollar volume than other categories. In addition, CMD noted once again that this category is highly volatile depending on the status of just one or two megaprojects. This was evident as industrial was down a whopping, out-sized 90% versus November 2014, while commercial (15.4%), engineering/civil (5.5%) and institutional were all up.
Road/highway, the largest segment, 42%, of the heavy engineering category, saw gains of 5.5% from last month, 17.5% from the same period last year and 11.8% year to date. In institutional, two-thirds of the category was in the school/college subcategory, and those numbers were down 5.4% from October, up 11.3% from the same period last year and up a negligible 0.2% year to date.
November 2015’s starts were up 1.6% from November last year and up 9.4% compared with average November starts for the last five years.
Year-to-date starts in 2015 compared with the same time period in 2014 were up 4.6%, and on a 12-month moving average, the civil/engineering category is trending upwards while the other non-residential building categories are staying flat or declining. Year-to-date starts were once again led by the heavy engineering category (14.3%), while commercial starts held steady at 0.2%. Also, year to date, institutional was down 5.1% and smaller industrial was up 26.8%.
Of the top project starts last month, four were in Texas, two were in Pennsylvania, and Ohio was a standout with a large Amazon data center.
CMD also noted the impressive employment numbers the construction industry has boasted over the last few months, including the increase of 46,000 jobs in November, the largest month-to-month gain since January 2014. Year-over-year, construction jobs have shot up 4.2%, the fastest rate of industry, and unemployment was 6.2% in November, down on a year-over-year basis from 7.5%
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