Rock Products

APR 2019

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www.rockproducts.com ROCK products • April 2019 • 53 ECONOMICS 39 percent in January with the boost coming from the start of the $365 mil- lion Croton Harmon rail service facility for Metro-North in Croton On Hudson, N.Y., as well as the start of a $90 million airport terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport in Lafayette, La. Amusement-re- lated construction improved 1 percent in January, and included the start of the $167 million renovation of the Memphis Cook Convention Center in Memphis. Residential Building Residential building in January was $309.8 billion (annual rate), up 4 per- cent and rebounding from its 9 percent slide in December. Multifamily housing bounced back 14 percent following its 15 percent December decline, and was up 1 percent compared to its average monthly pace during 2018. There were five multifamily projects valued at $100 million or more that reached ground- breaking in January, compared to four such projects in December. The large January multifamily proj- ects were led by the $150 million Watermark at Brooklyn Heights senior apartments in Brooklyn, N.Y., the $146 million multifamily portion of a $250 million mixed-use complex in Washing- ton, D.C., and a $128 million multifamily complex in Oakland. The top five metropolitan areas ranked by the dollar amount of new multifam- ily starts in January were – New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, San Francisco and Charlotte, N.C. Single family hous- ing in January was unchanged from the reduced dollar amount reported for December, which itself was down 6 percent from November. January's rate of activity for single-fam- ily housing was down 7 percent from the average monthly pace reported during 2018. By major region, single-family housing performed as follows in Janu- ary compared to December – the West, up 3 percent; the South Central, up 2 percent; the South Atlantic, unchanged; the Northeast, down 3 percent; and the Midwest, down 9 percent. Nonbuilding Construction Nonbuilding construction in January was $167.5 billion (annual rate), up 1 percent, which came after a 9 percent retreat in December. The electric util- ity/gas plant category increased 44 percent in January following a weak December, and January's level was up 2 percent from the average monthly pace for this highly volatile project type during 2018. There were two large solar farms entered as construction starts in Jan- uary – the $550 million Wright Solar Park in Los Banos, Calif., and a $303 million solar farm in the Bakersfield, Calif., area. There were also two large wind farms entered as construction starts in January – the $372 million Goodnight Wind Farm in Claude, Texas, and the $150 million Clean Energy 1 Wind Farm in the Bismarck, N.D., area. The public works categories as a group dropped 4 percent in Janu- ary compared to December. Weaker activity was reported for highways and bridges, down 5 percent; sewer construction, down 5 percent; water supply construction, down 22 per- cent; and river/harbor development, down 34 percent. The highway and bridge category did include the start of the $229 million First Coast Expressway improvement project in the Jacksonville, Fla., area, the $202 million State Highway 146 improvement project in Pasadena, Texas, and the $169 million Chelsea Bridge improvement project in Chel- sea, Mass. Limiting the public works decline in January was a 20 percent increase for miscellaneous public works, which includes pipelines and mass transit rail projects. Boosting miscellaneous public works in January was the start of the $1.0 billion Midship natural gas pipe- line in Oklahoma. The 12 percent decline for total construction starts on an unadjusted basis for January 2019 relative to January 2018 was due to decreased activity for each of the three major sectors. Nonresidential building dropped 12 percent from a year ago, with institutional building down 18 percent and man- ufacturing building down 38 percent, while the commercial building segment ran counter with a 2 percent gain. Residential building fell 13 percent from a year ago, with sin- gle-family housing down 13 percent and multifamily housing down 11 percent. Nonbuilding construction descended 10 percent from a year ago, with public works down 13 percent while electric utilities/gas plants moved in the opposite direc- tion with a 6 percent increase. By major region, total construction starts for January 2019 relative to January 2018 showed this pattern – the South Atlantic, up 2 percent; the Northeast, down 10 percent; the South Central, down 11 percent; the West, down 12 percent; and the Midwest down 33 percent from January 2018 that included the start of the $2.0 billion NEXUS natural gas pipe- line in Ohio and Michigan. Useful perspective is made possible by looking at 12-month moving totals, in this case the 12 months ending January 2019 versus the 12 months ending January 2018. On this basis, total construction starts for the most recent 12 months held steady with the amount of the previous 12 months. By major sector, nonresidential building matched the previ- ous period's volume, with commercial building up 2 percent, institutional building down 5 percent, and manufacturing build- ing up 17 percent. Residential building advanced 4 percent compared to the previous period, with multifamily housing up 7 percent and single family housing up 3 percent. Nonbuild- ing construction fell 6 percent from the previous period, with public works down 2 percent and electric utilities/gas plants down 30 percent. Year-Over-Year

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