March Sees Decline in Construction Starts

The Dodge Construction Network reported that total construction starts fell 12% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $903.8 billion. Nonresidential building starts dropped 29%, according to the report, indicating it was in part due to the start of three large manufacturing facilities in the prior month. Removing those three large projects from the equation, nonresidential starts in March would have risen 10%. Residential starts also fell 3%, and nonbuilding starts lost 2%.

Total construction was 9% higher in the first three months of 2022 than in the same period of 2021. Nonresidential building starts rose 26% and residential starts gained 3%. For the 12 months ending March 2022, total construction starts were 15% above the 12 months ending March 2021. Nonresidential starts were 25% higher and residential starts gained 15%.

“The volatility caused by the ebb and flow of large projects masks an underlying trend of strengthening in construction starts,” stated Richard Branch, chief economist for Dodge Construction Network. “Nonresidential construction has benefited from the growing confidence that the worst of the pandemic is in the rear-view window. The pipeline of projects waiting to start continues to fill, suggesting this trend will continue. However, higher prices and a shortage of skilled labor will slow the progress of those projects through the design and bidding stages, resulting in moderate growth in starts activity.”

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