The value of June nonresidential construction fell 13.7% from May, according to ConstructConnect. The decline is a significant departure from the typical May-to-June bump of 4.5%.
Starts in all four categories tracked fell in value on a month-over-month basis, with industrial suffering the biggest decline at 36.7%. Starts value in heavy engineering/civil fell 19.8%, and the commercial and institutional categories saw declines of 14.8% and 5.5%, respectively.
On a year-over-year basis, the value of total nonresidential starts fell 16.3% from June 2016, but year-to-date values fared better, up 2.4% from the first half of last year.
Architecture and engineering employment, a leading indicator of future construction activity, increased 3.8% year-over-year in June, while the overall construction unemployment rate was a low 4.5% — 0.1% lower than June 2016. The construction industry gained 16,000 positions in June, an increase of 5,000 from May but still short of the impressive gains realized in January (+36,000) and February (+58,000) of this year.
The 10 biggest project starts in June, according to a separate report from ConstructConnect, ranged from $200 million to $1.5 billion, representing diverse geographic locations. The top five projects by dollar value, both residential and nonresidential, were the Metropica at Sunrise, in Sunrise, FL ($1.5 billion); Dallas Midtown Mixed-Use Development Phase 1, in Dallas ($500 million); Inspira Health Network Replacement Hospital, in Mullica Hill, NJ ($349 million); Pioneer Natural Resources Building at Hidden Ridge, in Irving, TX ($300 million); and the SoNo Collection Shopping Center, in Norwalk, CT ($285 million).
The most recent report from Dodge Data & Analytics analyzing construction starts covered May. The company reported only a 1% uptick to $651.2 billion for the month, but it was a welcome turn after starts fell 13% to $647.8 billion in April. Starts were down 5% year-over-year for the first five months of 2017 at $274.3 billion.