May Contracts Increase 5 Percent

McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Cos., New York, has reported construction starts increased 5 percent in May. Total construction starts in May were down 3 percent compared with May 2012.
“The construction industry has shown modest improvement during the past year, helped by some project types while restrained by others,” says Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction. “The housing sector played a leading role last year in lifting overall construction activity, and although this year’s month-to-month gains have been smaller, housing continues to lead the hesitant construction expansion.

“Nonresidential building has yet to provide much of a contribution, as tenuous gains for commercial building have been offset by further weakness for institutional building,” he continues. “Still, the April and May pickup for nonresidential building could be a sign of more growth to come. As for nonbuilding construction, the negative effects from the sequester have so far turned out to be less severe on the public works categories than anticipated. However, new electric utility starts are in the midst of a sharp decline from last year’s record amount, and the extent of that decline is limiting whatever gain may be possible this year for total construction.”

Nonresidential building construction grew 9 percent in May. In the commercial category, hotel construction surged 94 percent; manufacturing plant construction jumped 70 percent; store construction increased 16 percent; office construction rose 3 percent; and warehouse construction fell 7 percent. In the institutional category, public buildings soared 95 percent; educational building construction rose 10 percent; health care facility construction dropped 10 percent; amusement-related construction slipped 17 percent; churches decreased 27 percent; and transportation terminal construction fell 33 percent.

Residential building construction grew 3 percent in May. Single-family housing increased 2 percent, and multifamily construction grew 7 percent.

Nonbuilding construction rose 2 percent in May.

During the 12 months ending in May, nonresidential building decreased 8 percent compared with the 12 months ending May 2012. Residential building was up 32 percent, and nonbuilding construction decreased 29 percent. By geographic region, the West grew 10 percent; Northeast increased 7 percent; South Central grew 6 percent; Midwest decreased 7 percent; and South Atlantic fell 22 percent.

(From NRCA Newsletter)

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