Rock Products

JUL 2018

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56 • ROCK products • July 2018 www.rockproducts.com ECONOMICS The electric utility/gas plant category increased 7 percent in April, although the level of activity was still 44 per- cent below last year's average monthly pace. There were four large wind farms entered as construction starts, with three located in Iowa valued respec- tively at $510 million, $224 million and $107 million, and one located in Nebraska valued at $304 million. Nonresidential Building Nonresidential building in April was $211.5 billion (annual rate), down 12 percent from March. The institutional side decreased 12 percent, sliding for the second month in a row. Educational facilities fell 13 percent in April after rising 7 percent in March. The largest educational facility projects entered as April starts were the $200 million Chen Institute for Neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., the $181 million ren- ovation of a Health and Human Services research building in Bethesda, Md., a $133 million high school in the Hous- ton area, and a $94 million high school in the Portland, Ore., area. Healthcare facilities in April dropped 27 percent, retreating for the second month in a row after a strong February. The largest healthcare facility project in April was a $90 million cancer treat- ment center in Norfolk, Va. Transportation terminal work also declined in April, dropping 16 percent. On the plus side, the public build- ings category advanced 34 percent, helped by the start of the $175 million Franklin County Corrections Center in Columbus, Ohio. Also increasing in April were religious buildings, up 26 percent; and amuse- ment-related projects, up 3 percent. The manufacturing plant category plunged 59 percent following a 282 percent jump in March that included several large natural gas processing facilities. April included the start of a $682 mil- lion tire manufacturing plant in Clinton, Miss., but there were no other manufac- turing plants valued at $100 million or more entered as April starts. The commercial building categories as a group provided a relative bright spot for nonresidential building in April, rising 5 percent after a 15 percent decline in March. Office construction rebounded 18 percent after its 18 per- cent March slide, with the upward push coming from the $480 million addition to the Hudson Commons office building in New York, plus two data center proj- ects in Ashburn, Va., valued respectively at $350 million and $135 million. Store construction grew 21 percent in April, while hotel construction advanced 25 percent. Large hotel proj- ects entered as April starts were the $350 million Marriott Hotel at Bonnet Creek in Orlando and the $125 million Hyatt Centric Hotel in Philadelphia. Commercial garages fell 37 percent in April and warehouse construction retreated 11 percent. The warehouse pullback was cushioned by the start of three Amazon distribution centers in Euclid, Ohio ($175 million), Saint Peters, Mo. ($75 million) and Macon, Ga. ($70 million). Residential Building Residential building in April was $303.8 billion (annual rate), down 9 percent. Multifamily housing declined 20 per- cent, retreating for the second month in a row following its improved activity during the first two months of 2018. April's volume of multifamily housing was down 7 percent from the average monthly pace reported last year. There were four multifamily proj- ects valued each at $100 million or more that reached groundbreaking in April, compared to 13 such projects in March. The projects were the $550 mil- lion Queens Plaza Park Apartments in Long Island City, N.Y., the $429 million multifamily portion of a $516 million mixed-use development in Seattle, and two multifamily projects in Ft. Lauder- dale, Fla., valued respectively at $154 million and $150 million. During the first four months of 2018, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $223.5 billion, down 7 percent from the same period of 2017 (which included very strong amounts for airport terminals and natural gas pipelines). On a 12-month moving total basis, total construction starts for the 12 months ending April 2018 matched the dollar amount that was reported for the prior-year period. The 7 percent downturn for total construction starts on an unadjusted basis during the January-April period of 2018 was due to reduced activity for two of the three main construction sectors. Nonresidential building dropped 18 percent year-to-date, with commercial building, down 16 percent; institutional building, down 25 percent; and manufacturing building, up 14 percent. Nonbuilding construction fell 10 percent year-to-date, with public works, down 5 percent; and electric utilities/gas plants, down 45 percent. Residential building increased 4 percent year-to-date, with 4 percent gains registered by both single family and multifamily housing. By geography, total construction starts during the first four months of 2018 showed this pattern – the Midwest, down 13 percent; the West, down 11 per- cent; the Northeast, down 8 percent; the South Central, down 5 percent; and the South Atlantic, down 1 percent. Additional perspective is made possible by looking at 12-month moving totals, in this case the 12 months ending April 2018 versus the 12 months ending April 2017. On this basis, total construction starts held steady with the volume of the previous period. By major sector, nonresidential building dropped 3 percent, with commercial building, down 8 percent; institutional building, down 3 percent; and manufacturing building, up 32 percent. Nonbuilding construction rose 1 percent, with public works, up 5 percent; while electric utilities/gas plants, fell 14 percent. Residential building grew 3 percent, with single family housing, up 7 percent; and multifamily housing, down 7 percent. Year-to-Date

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