Construction starts flat for April

News McGraw-Hill Cos. June 09, 2003
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At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $477 billion, new construction starts in April were essentially unchanged from March, a


At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $477 billion, new construction starts in April were essentially unchanged from March, according to McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge, a division of The McGraw-Hill Cos. Nonresidential building rebounded after decreased activity during the previous two months, but housing and public works posted moderate declines.

April's data kept the Dodge Index at 144, unchanged from the revised reading for March. The Dodge Index began the year at 151, but then slipped back to 144 in February and held at this reduced level over the next two months. For 2002 as a whole, the Dodge Index had averaged 151.

"It's true that the construction industry lost momentum during the early months of 2003, but so far the retreat can be characterized as a measured pullback," stated Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge. "April's stability is a good sign that the slowdown will continue to be mild, helped by an offsetting pattern by sector."

Nonbuilding construction in April retreated 3% to $83.3 billion. Bridge construction, up 26%, ran counter to the broader April weakening, helped by the start of a $139 million project in Maryland, an $89 million project in New York and a $55 million project in Kentucky.

Highway construction starts, however, were down 16%.


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