Total construction advances 3% in 2003

News McGraw-Hill Construction February 06, 2004
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New construction starts settled back 2% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $532

New construction starts settled back 2% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $532.6 billion, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Cos. The housing sector remained steady at a high volume in December, but declines were reported for nonresidential building and public works. For 2003 as a whole, total construction advanced 3% to $518.6 billion. This follows 1% growth for total construction in 2002.


The December data produced a 160 reading for the Dodge Index, down from a revised 164 for November. For all of 2003, the Dodge Index came in at 156. The initial months of 2003 were relatively subdued, with the Dodge Index averaging 150 during the January-May period before contracting picked up during the second half of the year.


Nonbuilding construction in December dropped 9% from the strong volume reported for November. Highways and bridges were down 8%. For all of 2003, nonbuilding construction fell 9% to $90.8 billion, reflecting a 6% decline for public works. Highway and bridge construction registered a 3% reduction in new starts after experiencing steady growth during the 1999-2002 period.


The annual figures for total construction in 2003 showed growth in four of the nation's five major regions--the West and South Central, each up 7%; the South Atlantic, up 5%; and the Midwest, up 3%. The Northeast dropped 10% during 2003.


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