Dodge Data & Analytics, New York, has reported construction starts fell 12% in March amid high materials prices and labor shortages.
“The volatility caused by the ebb and flow of large projects masks an underlying trend of strengthening in construction starts,” said Richard Branch, chief economist for Dodge Construction Network. “Nonresidential construction has benefited from the growing confidence that the worst of the pandemic is in the rearview window. The pipeline of projects waiting to start continues to fill, suggesting this trend will continue. However, higher prices and a shortage of skilled labor will slow the progress of those projects through the design and bidding stages, resulting in moderate growth in starts activity.”
Nonresidential building construction fell 29% in March following a significant gain in February as three large plants broke ground. Commercial construction rose 8%, and institutional starts grew 9%.
Residential building construction fell 3% in March. Multifamily starts rose 4%, and single-family housing fell 5%.
Nonbuilding construction fell by 2% in March.
For the 12 months ending in March, nonresidential building was up 25% compared with the 12 months ending February 2021. Residential building rose 15%, and nonbuilding construction fell 1%.