editorial

Six-Month Update

The 23 percent gain for total construction starts in the first half of 2015 came from a varied pattern by geography. The strongest year-to-date gain was reported in the South Central region, up 57 percent, which reflected the boost coming from the massive gas terminal projects that were entered as construction starts plus several large petrochemical plants.

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May Construction Starts Increase 3 Percent

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $729.7 billion, new construction starts in May climbed 3 percent compared to April’s already elevated pace, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The nonbuilding construction sector provided much of the lift, given an exceptionally strong amount reported for the electric power and gas plant category, which reflected a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal project in Texas being entered as a May start.

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Residential Building

Residential building, at $258.9 billion (annual rate), edged up 2 percent in May. Multifamily housing improved 7 percent, regaining upward momentum after settling back during the previous two months. May featured the start of eight multifamily projects valued each in excess of $100 million, with the largest being a $392 million project located in Long Island City, N.Y.

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Nonbuilding Construction

Nonbuilding construction in May jumped 59 percent to $262.7 billion (annual rate). The electric power and gas plant category led the way, soaring 229 percent, which was due in large measure to the massive $9 billion LNG export terminal in Corpus Christi, Texas, being included as a May start.

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Nonresidential Building

Nonresidential building in May fell 28 percent to $208.1 billion (annual rate), pulling back after surging 58 percent in April. The manufacturing building category in April had provided a sizeable boost, rising 513 percent as the result of an $8.1 billion petrochemical plant in Louisiana being entered as a construction start.

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