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Non-residential construction soared 32% in Oct.

 

Dodge: Rebound in October construction starts ‘alleviates concern about a stalling expansion’

By Kim Slowey

Dive Brief:

  1. Driven by growth in the non-residential sector, the value of October construction starts rose 13% from September to an annual rate of $591.1 billion, Dodge Data & Analytics reported. Construction starts were also up 10% year-to-date in October, at $551.9 billion.
  2. Non-residential projects spiked 32% in October to $200.7 billion, and construction of retail stores rose 56%, Dodge reported. In addition, office building construction increased 45%. Residential building was also in positive territory, with a rise of 9% to an annual rate of $260.3 billion.
  3. Non-building construction fell 3%, Dodge reported, to an annual rate of $130.2 billion, with electric utility and natural gas starts dropping 21%.

Dive Insight:

Non-residential highlights were a $561 million expansion and upgrade of the Westfield Century City Mall in Los Angeles; the $570 million first phase of a $1 billion Facebook data center in Fort Worth, TX; and a $300 million Google data center expansion in Lithia Springs, GA.

 

The residential sector was helped along by the start of 11 multifamily projects of $100 million or more.

 

Robert Murray, Dodge chief economist, said in a statement, “The healthy increase for construction starts in October alleviates concern about a stalling expansion that may have arisen with the sluggish activity in August and September.”

 

New construction volume fell 5% in September after posting an 11% month-to-month drop in August, according to Dodge.

 

Last month, Murray chalked up the increase in non-building construction early in 2015 to several energy mega projects after the sector’s poor showing in September, and it looks like non-building construction has not yet recovered. He also forewarned that the lack of a long-term highway funding bill from Congress could significantly affect the sector, but made no mention of the latest extension or Congress’s efforts to agree on a bill to send to President Obama.

 

Dodge noted that all month-to-month figures in its latest report are seasonally adjusted, but the year-to-date numbers are not.

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