Overall construction starts were up by just under 20% in July compared with last year at the same time, indicating a strong builder response to the early summer lessening of the pandemic.
According to the Cincinnati-based data firm Construct Connect, the year-to-date numbers, looking at January to July of this year, were up by just over 6%, from the same six-month period in 2020.
Those starts, notes the survey, make up the “total estimated dollar value and square footage of all projects on which ground is broken in any given month.”
The survey also shows residential starts accelerating with a historic 26% increase between July of last year and this past July. In this segment, single-family starts were up by 36%.
Also on the increase: road and highway starts, posting a 4.5% gain, and water and sewage project starts, with an 11% increase. Power project starts showed a 7.6% increase.
Other segments indicated a more bearish scenario, with non-residential starts off by 11%. In this category, commercial starts had the steepest decline, with an 14% decline over last July; and institutional starts were down by 12%.
Industrial and manufacturing starts, meanwhile, were only marginally in decline from last summer, posting a 1.3% decrease.
The Construct Connect survey also documents what it calls a “lukewarm construction jobs creation,” noting that new construction jobs in July were up, but only by 11,000 over July 2020.
The year-to-year percentage, continues the survey, shows an increase in all construction employment of 3.1%. That number, says the survey, “trails the economy-wide ‘all jobs’ climb of 5.2.%.”
By Garry Boulard
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