November contracts decrease 9 percent

McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of the McGraw-Hill Cos., New York, has reported construction starts decreased 9 percent in November. For the first 11 months of 2010, total construction was down 4 percent compared with the same period in 2009.

“Since early 2009, the construction start statistics have shown an up-and-down pattern, essentially leveling off within a set range following an extended three-year decline,” says Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction. “The pull back in November after October’s slight gain shows this up-and-down pattern continues, and there’s yet to be evidence that renewed expansion is taking hold. For nonresidential building, the worst of the decline for the commercial structure types has run its course, but the volume of activity remains weak.

“The housing sector, after losing momentum during the spring, appears to be edging upward once again, but to this point the pickup has been meager,” he continues. “For the public works sector, this year’s growth for transportation-related work has been offset by weaker activity for the environmental project types. In the near term, the overall economy may be helped by the recent extension of the federal tax cuts, but going into 2011, the construction industry still will face several constraints. These include restrictive bank lending standards which have yet to ease; fading stimulus support; and further erosion in the fiscal health of states and localities.”

Nonresidential building construction dropped 12 percent in November. In the commercial category, office construction surged 24 percent; warehouse construction jumped 19 percent; hotel construction increased 15 percent; manufacturing plants climbed 3 percent; and store construction fell 7 percent. In the institutional category, health care facility construction held steady; public buildings slipped 8 percent; transportation terminals decreased 14 percent; educational buildings dropped 23 percent; church construction fell 29 percent; and amusement-related construction decreased 44 percent.

Residential building construction increased 3 percent in November. Single-family housing increased 4 percent, and multifamily housing decreased 4 percent.

Nonbuilding construction dropped 16 percent in November.

During the first 11 months of 2010, nonresidential building decreased 12 percent compared with the first 11 months of 2009. Residential building was up 7 percent, and nonbuilding construction decreased 2 percent. By geographic region, the Northeast increased 3 percent; Midwest held steady; West dropped 3 percent; South Central fell 5 percent; and South Atlantic decreased 10 percent.

Date : 1/11/2011