Non-residential construction starts increased 9.8 percent from December to January in the U.S., according to a new report from construction data provider CMD. January’s new construction total, $24.7 billion, was 12.9 percent higher than January 2015. The increase in construction starts was higher than the construction activity typical of December-to-January; the average over 10-years-plus is 8.5 percent.
Among the three major sub-categories of non-residential construction, institutional and heavy engineering/civil activity increased 21.3 and 13.6 percent respectively, and commercial increased by 3.8 percent. The normally smaller-dollar-volume category of industrial/manufacturing decreased significantly, by 49.1 percent. This number fluctuates from one month to the next, based on whether or not there is a mega project underway.
On a positive note, year-over-year employment in construction in January is up 4.2 percent, more than double the rate for all jobs, which increased only 1.9 percent.