Rock Products

FEB 2019

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www.rockproducts.com ROCK products • February 2019 • 75 At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $789.3 billion, new construction starts in November decreased 7 percent from October's elevated amount, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. Most of the total construction decline in the latest month was the result of nonresidential building pulling back 15 percent after its 43 percent surge in October. Highway and bridge construction fell 33 percent. There were eight very large projects with a value of $500 million or more (totaling $7.4 billion) that boosted nonresidential building in October. In contrast, there were just three very large projects with a value of $500 mil- lion or more (totaling $2.8 billion) that were entered as nonresidential building starts in November. The other two major construction sec- tors witnessed slightly reduced activity in November, with residential building down 1 percent and nonbuilding con- struction down 2 percent. "Amidst the monthly ups-and-downs, the construction start statistics show that on balance the construction indus- try expansion was still underway in 2018, although the rate of growth has slowed considerably from the 7 percent gains for total construction reported during 2016 and 2017," stated Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. "Several features stand out about the pattern of construction starts during 2018," Murray continued. "Nonresi- dential building through 11 months has stayed within 2 percent of the enhanced activity registered during 2017, reflect- ing a varied performance by project type. The commercial building seg- ment revealed more growth in dollar terms for hotels and office buildings, with the latter boosted by the start of such projects as the $1.8 billion Spiral office tower in New York, a $665 mil- lion office tower in Chicago, as well as several massive data center projects. The institutional building segment has benefitted from more growth for educa- tional facilities and amusement-related projects, but transportation terminal starts have settled back from an excep- tional amount in 2017 to what's still a healthy volume in 2018. Manufac- turing plant construction has shown wide swings month-to-month, yet for 2018 as a whole this project type con- tinues to trend upward. With regard to residential building, multifamily hous- ing has seen renewed growth in 2018 after its loss of momentum in 2017, but single family housing has essen- tially plateaued following the advances registered at the outset of 2018. For nonbuilding construction, the public works segment has shown growth for highways and bridges, helped by the 2018 federal omnibus appropriations bill passed back in March, although pipeline construction starts have eased back from a robust 2017. New electric utility/gas plant starts, despite the occasional jump such as reported in November, have continued to trend downward over the course of 2018." Nonresidential Building Nonresidential building in November was $279.9 billion (annual rate), down 15 percent from October. The manu- facturing plant category plunged 71 percent from an October amount that was boosted by a $1.6 billion natural gas processing plant in Douglas, Wyo., as well as a $400 million wood products plant in Lexington, N.C., a $400 million natural gas processing plant in Watford City, N.D., and a $320 million biofuel refinery in Lakeview, Ore. The largest manufacturing plant proj- ects entered as November construction starts were a $213 million cheese pro- cessing plant in St. Johns, Mich., and a $120 million steel mill in Sedalia, Mo. The institutional building categories as a group dropped 23 percent in Novem- ber after registering a 32 percent hike in October. The transportation termi- nal category plunged 73 percent from October that included the start of the ECONOMICS New Construction Starts in November Slip 7 Percent Nonresidential Building Pulls Back From October's Brisk Pace; Highways Down. By Mark S. Kuhar MONTHLY CONSTRUCTION STARTS (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rates, In Millions of Dollars) Nov. 2018 Oct. 2018 % Change Nonresidential Building $279,853 $330,788 -15 Residential Building $327,536 $329,720 -1 Nonbuilding Construction $181,957 $185,401 -2 TOTAL Construction $789,346 $845,909 -7

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