Construction starts dip in Sept.

News McGraw-Hill Construction November 11, 2004
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At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $564

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $564.5 billion, new construction starts in September were down 3% from August, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Cos. Residential building held steady with the previous month, but nonresidential building and public works showed reduced activity. During the first nine months of 2004, total construction on an unadjusted basis was reported at $444.7 billion, up 10% from the same period a year ago.

September's data lowered the Dodge Index to 170 compared to a revised 175 for August. After the heightened readings during the May-July period, when the Dodge Index average 179, contracting has returned to levels closer to the 172 average for the first nine months of the year.

"While August and September have seen a slower pace, new construction starts are still on track to post the strongest annual gain in five years," said Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction.

Nonbuilding construction in September fell 8% to $91 billion (annual rate). New construction starts for highways and bridges were down 23% from August, continuing this year's lackluster performance. Through the first nine months of 2004, highway and bridge construction starts were down 5% compared to last year.

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