Construction starts in the U.S., excluding residential work, rose 4.2 percent in June compared to May, according ConstructConnect chief economics Alex Carrick. Starts totaled $34 billion, and the percentage rise was on pace seasonally.

“Looking ahead, July is the final month in any year when a seasonal lift is expected,” says Carrick. “From August through February of the following year, the month-to-month tendency is for declines.”

The 4.2-percent month-to-month total starts improvement in June was led by the institutional (12-percent increase) and commercial (10.6-percent increase) categories. As for year-to-date starts in June, all three major categories improved on their first half 2015 results. Institutional (22.5 percent) has been the frontrunner, with commercial (15.4 percent) and heavy engineering (6.5 percent) following. Only industrial (a 50.7-pecent decrease) has declined.

The educational sector led the institutional category through the first half of this year, making up 62 percent of its starts. Healthcare starts were next at 17 percent. Among commercial work sub-categories, retail has accounted for the largest portion so far this year at 24.7 percent, according to Carrick.

Meanwhile, the latest Employment Situation Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows no change in the total number of U.S. construction workers in June compared with May. Year-to-date, however, there has been a net gain in construction employment of 46,000 jobs. The unemployment rate in construction in June dropped to 4.6 percent.