August construction activity up

News October 01, 2002
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At a seasonally adjusted rate of $509

At a seasonally adjusted rate of $509.4 billion, the value of new construction starts in August rebounded 7% from a lackluster July, according to McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge. Double-digit gains were reported for nonresidential building and nonbuilding construction, while housing showed more modest improvement. During the first eight months of 2002, total construction was up 1% compared to the same period of 2001.


The latest month's statistics lifted the Dodge Index to 153, up from a revised 143 for July. In 2002, the Dodge Index has fluctuated around last year's average of 149–four months this year have been above 149 and four months have been below that mark.


"The construction industry in 2002 has essentially stabilized close to its 2001 level following 10 straight years of expansion," said Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction. "The weak economy over the past year led to sharp declines for commercial and manufacturing building, but the slack has been picked up by further growth for single-family housing, public works and institutional building."


As for the transportation side, highways and bridges held steady during the month of August.


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