U.S. construction starts, excluding residential work, totaled $33.8 billion in August, according to ConstructConnect. This represents a 2-percent decrease from July.

The mild decrease is below the usual -3.5-percent July-to-August change, due to seasonality, according to chief economist Alex Carrick. “Looking ahead, the month-to-month tendency will be for declines through February of next year,” says Carrick.

However, volume of starts in August was up 11.4-percent compared to the same month last year, and year-to-date starts through the first two-thirds of 2016 have been 12.3-percent higher versus the same January to August period of 2015.

The 2-percent month-to-month decline in total stars originated in the larger institutional (-17.5 percent) and heavy engineering/civil (-8.8 percent) categories. Commercial work (+28.8 percent) saw a sizable jump in starts.

August 2016’s rise of 11.4 percent in total starts versus August 2015’s level came mainly in commercial work (+61.7 percent), according to Carrick. Institutional (+7.3 percent) was also on an upswing. As for year-to-date starts so far in 2016, the commercial (+22.5 percent) and institutional (+17.5 percent) have led the way.

The retail/shopping segment, which is the largest commercial sub-category, recorded a 65.2-percent month-over-month increase, a 162.1-percent year-over-year spike and a 63.7-percent year-to-date jump. The private office building segment accounts for the second largest chunk of commercial work. In August, it was up 48.9 percent from July, 48.9 percent from the same month last year and 41.1 percent year to date.