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.
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 million or more (totaling $2.8 billion) that were entered as nonresidential building starts in November. The other two major construction sectors witnessed slightly reduced activity in November, with residential building down 1 percent and nonbuilding construction down 2 percent.
During the January-November period of 2018, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $738.2 billion, up 1 percent from a year ago. Excluding the electric utility/gas plant category, which fell 30 percent year-to-date, total construction starts in the first 11 months of 2018 were up 2 percent.
“Amidst the monthly ups-and-downs, the construction start statistics show that on balance the construction industry 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,” says Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics.
Nonresidential building in November was $279.9 billion (annual rate), down 15 percent from October. The commercial categories as a group climbed 14 percent in November, on top of the 47 percent increase that was reported in October.