Construction starts, excluding residential work, declined 5.2 percent in July compared to June. Starts totaled $33.6 billion for the month, according to ConstructConnect chief economist Alex Carrick.

However, starts were 3.4-percent higher than July 2015, and year-to-date starts through the first seven months of 2016 were 11.6-percent higher than from the same period last year.

Month-over-month, commercial work declined 26.4 percent, and institution fell 6.3 percent. The year-over-year increase in non-residential work was led by the institutional category, which increased 17.7 percent. Commercial, meanwhile, dropped 15.4 percent.

Institutional also led the year-to-date performance with an increase of 19.1 percent, and commercial picked up by 16.2 percent.

The two main sub-categories in institutional work are schools/colleges and hospitals/clinics. In July, the former was down 12.9 percent month-to-month but up 5.6 year-over-year and 13.8 percent year to date. The latter decreased 23.7 percent month-to-month but increased 35.4 percent over the year and 41.5 percent from January 2016 through July 2016.

In commercial work, retail/shopping is the largest sub-category, according to Carrick. Starts in this sector were down 54.2 percent month-over-month but up 20 percent year-over-year and 45.4 percent year-to-date.

Private office construction decreased 33.9 percent for the month but increased 9.3 percent over the year and 40.4 percent year-to-date. Government office construction decreased 8.2 percent month-over-month and 34.3 percent over the year. However, the category saw a 21.4-percent increase through the first seven months of the year compared to 2016. Hotel/motel construction declined 26.1 percent month-over-month and 1.8 percent from July 2015. It has increased 13.6 percent year-to-date.