Slight decrease for construction starts in April

News McGraw-Hill Cos. June 17, 2004
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New construction starts in April held within 1% of the March volume, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The M

New construction starts in April held within 1% of the March volume, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Cos. Total construction for April was reported at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $545.4 billion, a slight 0.3% below the upwardly revised $547.1 billion for March. April featured a modest decline for residential building, offset by small gains for nonresidential building and public works.


April's data produced a 164 reading for the Dodge Index, compared to 165 in March. The pace of construction starts had retreated at the outset of 2004, when the Dodge Index slipped to 156 in January, below the average of 159 for all of 2003. In the subsequent three months, the Dodge Index climbed back above last year's mark.


"The construction industry continues to move at a healthy clip, supported by the strong amount of single family homebuilding," stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction. "To a small degree, April witnessed the broad pattern that's expected to be present during 2004--single family housing settling back from an exceptionally high volume, while nonresidential building registers modest improvement."


Nonbuilding construction in April increased 1% to $86.7 billion. Gains were reported for environmental public works. However, highway and bridge construction fell 5%, continuing the weaker contracting shown by these project types during the early months of 2004.


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