Construction starts down from December to January

Construction starts decreased by 6% to $759.2 billion from December to January, according to Dodge Data & Analytics.

The Hamilton-based provider of analytics and software for the construction industry said during the month, all three major categories slipped, including residential building starts (down 8% to $325.4 billion), nonresidential building starts (down 6% to $266.6 billion) and nonbuilding starts (down 2% to $167.2 billion).

For the 12 months ending January 2020, total construction starts were 1% higher than the same period 12 months before. When focusing on the major categories, residential buildings were 1% lower, nonresidential buildings were down by less than a percentage point, but nonbuilding construction was up by 8%.

“Coming in slightly weaker than the previous month, January’s starts did little to change our view that construction starts will remain near their recent highs in 2020 even though they are likely to fall as the economy slows,” Richard Branch, chief economist of Dodge Data & Analytics, said.

In the nonbuilding category, gains were seen over the month in highway and bridges as well as miscellaneous nonbuilding sectors, which moved up by 15% and 12% respectively. However, the utility/gas plant and the enviromnetal public works sectors were weak, falling 29% and 10%. In the nonresidential category, manufacturing starts more the doubled while commercial building starts declined 16% and institutions starts fell 6%. And in the residential category, single family starts fell 5%, while multifamily starts lost 15%.