A brief warm-up

News F.W. Dodge May 06, 2002
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The value of new construction starts dropped 11% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $468

The value of new construction starts dropped 11% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $468.9 billion, according to the Dodge division of McGraw-Hill Construction.


Nonbuilding construction reflected the overall slump at 11%. Most of the public works categories witnessed reduced contracting compared to February, including highways (down 10%) and bridges (down 27%).


"The pace of construction activity in January and February was unusually strong, aided by warm winter weather that helped push forward the timing of construction starts," stated Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction. "The March decline in effect 'compensates' for the heightened activity at the start of 2002, so perhaps a better reading of the construction industry comes from looking at the average for the year's first three months."


According to Murray, total construction during the first quarter of 2002 proceeded at an annual rate of $501 billion, a 2% gain over both the previous quarter and the average for all of 2001.


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