Rock Products

JAN 2013

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November Construction Slips 5 Percent By Mark S. Kuhar At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $421.3 billion, new construction starts in November fell 5 percent from the previous month, according to McGraw‐Hill Construction, a divi‐ sion of The McGraw‐Hill Companies. The downturn came as the result of decreased activity for public works, following this sector's elevated amount in October. Meanwhile, both nonresidential building and housing registered modest growth in Novem‐ ber. During the first 11 months of 2012, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were reported at $424.4 billion, up 3 percent com‐ pared to the same period a year ago. Highway construction in November dropped 8 percent, sliding back after being lifted in October by the start of work on the I‐95 HOV/HOT Lanes project in Virginia. Bridge construc‐ tion was the only public works cate‐ gory to post a November gain, climbing 12 percent with the help of a $245 million bridge replacement project in Quincy, Mass. The November data lowered the Dodge Index to 89 (2000=100), down from a revised 94 for October. Over the first eleven months of 2012, the Dodge Index averaged 97. "The current year has seen an up‐ and‐down pattern for construction starts, and November qualifies as one of this year's weaker months," stated Robert A. Murray, vice presi‐ dent of economic affairs for Mc‐ Graw‐Hill Construction. "Much of the recent variation has been related to unusually large projects in a given month, and the absence of such proj‐ ects in November for public works and electric utilities contributed to 36 ROCKproducts • JANUARY 2013 the slowdown for overall construc‐ tion. At the same time, nonresiden‐ tial building in November showed improvement after its loss of mo‐ mentum during the prior two months, and housing continues to strengthen." Nonbuilding Construction Nonbuilding construction in Novem‐ ber dropped 24 percent to $100.6 billion (annual rate), retreating to its lowest amount so far in 2012. The environmental public works cat‐ egories in November were particu‐ larly weak, with large declines for sewer construction, down 21 per‐ cent; river/harbor development, down 29 percent; and water supply systems, down 37 percent. The "miscellaneous public works" category, which is comprised of such diverse project types as pipelines, mass transit, and outdoor sports sta‐ diums, fell 56 percent in November. Miscellaneous public works had been boosted in October by $2.0 bil‐ lion related to work on the Keystone Pipeline Gulf Coast Expansion (lo‐ cated in Oklahoma and Texas); by contrast, the largest miscellaneous public works project in November was a $70 million stadium addition at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La. The electric utility category in No‐ vember weakened further, dropping 8 percent after a steep 93 percent plunge in October. Due to the strength reported earlier in the year, the electric utility category in 2012 has already achieved a new annual high in current dollars, even with the depressed activity reported for Octo‐ ber and November. During the first eleven months of 2012, nonbuilding construction was up 1 percent from the same period a year ago. While public works con‐ struction year‐to‐date was down 1 percent, it was offset by a 4 percent gain for electric utilities. Four of the six public works categories showed year‐to‐date declines – bridge con‐ struction, down 3 percent; highways, down 9 percent; sewer construction, down 12 percent; and river/harbor development, down 21 percent. The two public works categories report‐ ing year‐to‐date increases were water supply systems, up 7 percent; and miscellaneous public works, up 41 percent. The large gain for miscel‐ laneous public works reflected a sharp rise in the amount of pipeline and rail‐related work. Nonresidential Building Nonresidential building, at $136.8 billion (annual rate), climbed 4 per‐ Monthly Construction Starts (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rates, In Millions of Dollars) Nonresidential Building Residential Building Nonbuilding Construction Total Construction Nov 2012 $136,764 $183,890 $100,635 $421,289 Oct 2012 $131,688 $177,870 $132,560 $442,118 % Change +4 +3 -24 -5 www.rockproducts.com

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