Dodge Data & Analytics, New York, has reported construction starts climbed 6% in February after falling 27% in January.
“February construction starts were a mixed bag that led to marginal growth,” said Richard Branch, chief economist for Dodge Construction Network. “Single-family units posted a gain for the first time in 13 months, and manufacturing starts continued to be very robust, showing signs of promise early into 2023. However, the downturn in commercial and institutional building starts could very well be the beginning of an anticipated slow-down as the construction sector pulls back in the face of higher interest rates and lagging economic growth. While this ebbing should be comparatively mild, some construction verticals could face extreme stress as the year progresses.”
Nonresidential building construction rose 9% in February as manufacturing soared 218% with the start of a $3.5 billion large electric vehicle battery plant. Commercial starts declined 2%.
Residential building construction rose 11% in February. Single-family housing increased 4%, and multifamily starts jumped 22%.
Nonbuilding construction fell 5% in February.
For the 12 months ending February 2023, total construction starts were up 9% compared with the 12 months ending February 2022. Nonresidential building rose 27%; nonbuilding construction grew 19%; and residential building dropped 9%.