ConstructConnect: February nonresidential starts edge down 2%
- The value of February nonresidential construction starts inched down 1.7% to $26.2 billion from an upwardly revised January total of $26.7 billion, which was less than the typical seasonal 2.5% decline in February, according to ConstructConnect.
- A 33.2% plunge in the institutional category drove the February dip, while gains in commercial (+18.7%), heavy engineering (+4.5%), and the smaller, volatile institutional category (+65.3%) weren't enough to put total starts in the positive.
- Year over year, total starts for February 2017 were down 9.2%, with a 26.2% increase in the engineering category recording the only gain. Year-to-date starts were down 7.5% when compared to the January-February 2016 period, with industrial (-39.4%), institutional (-11.7%)and commercial (-7.0%) all in the negative and engineering up a negligible 2.9%.
The better news from ConstructConnect was that architecture and engineering jobs, leading indicators of future construction activity, increased 2.3% year over year, and employment was up 1.7%. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier this month that the number of February construction jobs rose by a whopping 58,000, the largest monthly increase since March 2007.
February's 10 biggest project starts ranged from $376 million to $3 billion. The top five nonresidential projects by dollar value were One Vanderbilt — New York City ($3 billion); Midfield Satellite Concourse, LAX — Los Angeles ($1.6 billion); Riverline Development — Chicago ($1.5 billion); Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway — Phoenix ($917 million); and One and Three Gotham Center — Long Island City, NY ($700 million).
The start of the One Vanderbilt project in New York City and ongoing demand for space in many major metros helped office construction continue a successful run with a January-February increase of 106.4%, as well as growth year over year (94.3%) and year to date (57.4%).
Dodge Data & Analytics, which considers both residential and nonresidential projects in its starts data, set the value of February starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $706.4 billion, a 2% increase from January. Dodge said the uptick was mostly attributable to the public works sector, which saw the start of a $1.4 billion natural gas pipeline.
- ConstructConnect ConstructConnect’s -2% February Starts Almost Hold Their Ground
Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter