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By: Alex Carrick on May 17th, 2021

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April's Nonresidential Construction Starts -5.9% M/M & -16.8% YTD

Economic News | Industry Snapshot

Wind Power Projects in Missouri and Texas Head Top 10 List

ConstructConnect announced today that April 2021’s volume of construction starts, excluding residential work, was $31.5 billion, a decrease of -5.9% versus March 2021’s $33.4 billion (originally reported as $32.2 billion). The m/m pullback was entirely due to softness in nonresidential building starts, -23.4%, as heavy engineering/civil starts were +25.3%.

April’s Nonresidential Construction Starts -5.9% M/M & -16.8% Ytd Graphic

Year-to-date nonresidential starts through the fourth month of this year were -16.8% versus Jan-Apr 2020. Nonresidential building and engineering year-to-date performances have been -24.6% and -3.5% respectively.


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Click here to download the complete Construction Industry Snapshot Package - April 2021 PDF.

Perhaps in a sign of what’s to come, with Washington’s greater emphasis on carbon-free energy generation, two of the three largest (by dollar volume) initiations in the latest month were wind power projects, at approximately half a billion dollars each, located in Missouri and Texas (see Top 10 Project Starts in the U.S. - April 2021).

Including residential activity, grand total starts in April were +4.8% month to month and a barely negative -1.8% year to date. Residential work on its own was quite strong, +17.4% m/m and +21.6% ytd.

From now (i.e., April 2021 statistics) through the remainder of this year, it will be important to keep in mind that an extraordinary effect will be distorting year-over-year comparisons. Through Q1 of last year, groundbreakings were ‘normal.’ They weren’t being impacted by economy-wide shutdowns to combat coronavirus infections.

Therefore, early 2021 relative to early 2020 percentage changes have been skewed downwards by a high base (denominator) in the mathematical calculation. Moving forward, an opposite bias will come into play. Last year’s comparison numbers from late Spring on suffered from COVID-19-induced suppression. 

The ‘Starts’ Versus Put-in-Place Capital Spending Relationship

‘Starts’ compile the total estimated dollar value and square footage of all projects on which ground is broken in any given month. They lead, by nine months to as much as two years, put-in-place (PIP) statistics which are analogous to work-in-progress payments as the building of structures proceeds to completion.

PIP numbers cover the ‘universe’ of construction, new plus all manner of renovation activity, with residential traditionally making up two-fifths (about 40%) of the total and nonresidential, three-fifths (i.e., the bigger portion, at around 60%). Presently, though, according to the Census Bureau’s March 2021 not-seasonally-adjusted (NSA) PIP numbers for the total United States, the year-to-date mix has shifted more towards residential work (48% of the total) and away from nonresidential (52%) than usual. The Census Bureau’s March 2021 NSA ytd PIP results are +4.5% for total; +20.7%, residential; and -7.0%, nonresidential.  

PIP numbers, being more spread out, have smaller peak-over-trough percent-change amplitudes than the ‘starts’ series. As an additional valuable service for clients and powered by its extensive ‘starts’ database, ConstructConnect, in partnership with Oxford Economics, a world-leader in econometric modeling, has developed put-in-place construction statistics by types of structure for U.S. states, cities, and counties, ‘actuals’ and forecasts. ConstructConnect’s PIP numbers will be released quarterly and will be featured in a separate reporting system.     

Construction Hiring Went Into Hiatus in April

The U.S. economy in April added +266,000 net new jobs, but the construction sector played no role in the advance. Construction’s jobs count over the last three months has bounced from -57,000 in February, to +97,000 in March, then to zero in April. Graph 1 shows the breakdown of staffing changes in construction by types of structure and general versus subtrade contractors. The only significant alteration in April was the jobs contraction of -12,000 found among nonresidential subtrade contractors.

The construction industry’s NSA unemployment rate in April improved to 7.7% from 8.6% in March. A year ago, in April 2020, joblessness in the onsite sector was 16.6%. The 16.6% rate from a year ago, however, was the worst that has been reached during the health crisis. From April 2020 on, construction's unemployment rate eased back down again.

Even with construction’s neutral hiring stance in the latest month, the sector’s year-over-year jobs performance is looking pretty good, at +14.0%. As is shown in Graph 3, construction is positioned near the top among all sectors for y/y percentage change in the number of jobs. No other sector, though, can compare with leisure and hospitality’s employment jump of +61.9% y/y. The fact that hotels/motels and bars/restaurants rehired or took on new workers (many of them from a younger demographic) to the tune of +331,000 in April is exceptionally good news for the economy as a whole.

The latest year-over-year payroll adjustments in some other pockets of the economy with close ties to construction have been: machinery and equipment rental and leasing, -11.2%; cement and concrete product manufacturing, -5.5%; oil and gas extraction, +1.4%; building material suppliers, +4.1%; architectural and engineering services, +4.9%; and real estate, +6.0%.

Graph 1: Change in Level of U.S. Construction Employment, Month to Month (M/M) −
Total & by Categories - April 2021

April was a quiet month for construction sector employment.
For each month, 'net' = zero. 'Subtrade' in BLS data referred to as 'specialty' trade.
Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Graph 2: U.S. Employment April 2021 - % Change Y/Y
Based on Seasonally Adjusted (SA) Data

The big drops in employment last year are now leading to outsized percentage gains this year. The base or denominator in the y/y % change calculation will be unusually small deep into the remainder of this year.
The latest data points are for April 2021.
Data source: Payroll Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Graph 3: Y/Y Jobs Change, U.S. Total Industry & Major Subsectors − April 2021 (based on seasonally adjusted payroll data)

For many of these sectors, employment dropped so low in April of last year that y/y jobs count comparisons will be inordinately favorable for months to come. Construction currently stands 3rd for y/y gain. The 'leisure & hospitality' sector recovered +331,000 jobs in the latest month.
Data source: Payroll Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Dept of Labor).
Chart: ConstructConnect.
Graph 4: Sales by U.S Building Material & Supplies Dealers
The background numbers for this graph are a subset derived from a broader designation that includes garden equipment. Also, the reported data for sales by 'building material & supplies dealers' alone is always a month behind. Feb 2021 results were +13.7% y/y and -5.6% m/m.
Data source: Census Bureau.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Table 1: Monitoring the U.S. employment recovery ‒ April 2021

Monitoring the U.S. employment recovery ‒ March 2021 Chart
Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Dominant Shares for Roads/Highways and Educational Facility Starts

There was a -5.9% retreat in total nonresidential construction starts month to month (m/m) in April 2021, at a time of year when more favorable weather ‘seasonality’ usually provides a boost to groundbreakings. Among type-of-structure categories, only engineering (+25.3%) made headway, while industrial (-73.3%), institutional (-24.0%) and commercial (-5.1%) stumbled.  

On a year over year basis (y/y) in the latest month, total nonresidential construction starts were -14.3%, with engineering again on the upside (although to only a minor degree, +2.5%), but overwhelmed by drops in industrial (-53.8%), institutional (-26.8%) and commercial (-20.6%).

The year-to-date (i.e., Jan-Apr 2021/Jan-Apr 2020) decline of -16.8% in total nonresidential construction starts has resulted from across-the-board cuts in all the major type-of-structure categories. Commercial starts have been most challenged (-35.0% ytd, or off by a little more than a third), followed by institutional (-17.6%), industrial (-12.6%), and engineering (-3.5%).

By the way, besides wind power projects, the Top 10 starts list (see Top 10 Project Starts in the U.S. - April 2021) includes two other kinds of projects that have recently come to greater prominence, a distribution center (for Amazon in Washington State) and a data center (RagingWire in Arizona).  

The ‘road/highway’ and ‘school/college’ subcategories held onto their dominant shares of total nonresidential construction starts ytd through April, at 17.1% and 15.3% respectively. Combined, they accounted for 32.4%, or just shy of one-third. The three key metrics for street starts in April were +29.6% m/m, but -8.0% y/y and -5.8% ytd; and for educational starts, +30.3% m/m, but -13.9% y/y and -21.5% ytd.

‘Hospital/clinic’ starts in April were down sharply m/m (-85.6%) and y/y (-35.9%), but they remained rosy-cheeked ytd (+49.7%). Total medical facility starts (including nursing homes and ‘miscellaneous medical’ along with hospitals) in the latest month were -65.6% m/m and -23.1% y/y, but -0.3% ytd, or next thing to flat.

Within commercial starts, two major subcategories continued to be severely distressed ytd and y/y in April, ‘hotels/motels’ (-64.2% ytd and -37.8% y/y) and ‘private offices’ (-53.7% ytd and -45.8% y/y). But both had better records on a m/m basis: +10.6% for hotels/motels and +7.1% for private office buildings.

‘Retail/shopping’ starts in April may have been +9.4% m/m and +7.7% y/y, but they were -15.1% ytd. As a subcategory of commercial construction with increasing importance in the consumer spending area, warehouse starts in the latest month were +1.1% m/m, but -11.5% y/y and -21.5% ytd.

Table 2: Construction Starts in Some Additional Type of Structure Subcategories

  Jan-APR 2021 % Change vs
  ($ billions) Jan-APR 2020
     
Sports Stadiums/Convention Centers $1.343 -28.3%
Transportation Teminals $0.468 -38.3%
Courthouses $0.786 2.3%
Police Stations & Fire Halls $1.135 1.4%
Prisons $0.614 -2.6%
Pre-School/Elementary $5.239 -17.8%
Junior & Senior High Schools $8.188 -17.0%
     K-12  (sum of above two categories) $13.427 -17.3%
Special & Vocational Schools $0.388 -31.2%
Colleges & Universities $3.796 -32.7%
Electric Power Infrastructure $3.078 130.5%

Data Source and Table: ConstructConnect.

Sparks of Construction Jobs Strength in JOLTS Data

Besides the Employment Situation report, the BLS also publishes a monthly JOLTS summary, where JOLTS is an acronym for Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

From Graph 5, JOLTS data on ‘openings,’ whether as a level or a rate, established clearly defined peaks in early 2019. Moderation occurred later in 2019 and throughout 2020. But a period of renewed buoyancy has become apparent in 2021.

The number and rate of ‘hirings’ in the construction sector, however, at least as measured by the JOLTS survey and set out in Graph 6, have been slower to materialize. ‘Hires’ plunged at the onset of the coronavirus crisis, then rebounded way past a counterbalancing amplitude. They have since tailed off to a considerable degree, although a noticeable ticking upwards has arisen of late.

Graph 5: U.S. Construction Job Openings (from JOLTS Report)
(3-month Moving Averages placed in Latest Month)

U.S. Construction Job Openings (from JOLTS Report) Chart
*Rate is number of job openings end-of-month as % of 'construction employment plus number of job openings'.
Latest seasonally adjusted data points are for Mar. 2021. ... JOLTS = Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.
Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Graph 6: U.S. Construction Job Hires (from JOLTS Report)
(3-month Moving Averages placed in Latest Month)

U.S. Construction Job Hires (from JOLTS Report) Chart
*Rate is number of job openings end-of-month as % of 'construction employment plus number of job openings'.
Latest seasonally adjusted data points are for Mar. 2021. ... JOLTS = Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.
Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Heavy Engineering Curve Appears To Be Establishing a Floor

Most of the curves appearing in the Nonresidential Construction Starts Trend Graphs - April 2021 and highlighting 12-month moving average trend lines are still sloping downwards. But there are some positive developments to be gleaned, nonetheless.

‘Roads/highways’ and ‘water/sewage’ are managing to maintain fairly level paths. And ‘hospitals/clinics’ and ‘miscellaneous civil’ are giving early indications of perking up. Furthermore, total ‘heavy engineering’ appears close to establishing a ‘floor.’

On Compensation Front, Construction Workers Smiling More Broadly

Tables B-3 and B-8 of the monthly Employment Situation report record average hourly and average weekly wages for industry sectors. B-3 is for all employees (i.e., including bosses) on nonfarm payrolls. B-8 is for ‘production and nonsupervisory personnel’ only (i.e., it excludes bosses). For ‘all jobs’ and construction, there are eight relevant percentage changes to consider.

From Graphs 7 and 8, ‘all jobs’ and construction worker compensation rates, year over year, flipped over in the latest month, with the latter advancing more rapidly than the former. ‘All jobs’ wages in the spring of last year soared when multitudinous part-time and ‘gig’ workers were sideswiped and sidelined by the pandemic and, therefore, were dropped from the y/y compensation calculation. Now, ‘all jobs’ year-over-year paycheck increases are being held back by last year’s heightened ‘base’ number.

From Table B-3 (including bosses), ‘all jobs’ earnings y/y in April 2021 were +0.3% hourly and +2.7% weekly. For construction workers, as a subset of ‘all jobs,’ pay hikes were more rewarding, +3.8% hourly and +7.1% weekly. From Table B-8 (excluding supervisors), ‘all jobs’ compensation increases in the latest month were +1.2% hourly and +3.9% weekly. Construction workers, at +5.3% hourly and +9.4% weekly, were smiling more broadly.  

Graph 7: Average Hourly Earnings Y/Y - 'All Jobs' & Construction
Average Hourly Earnings Y/Y - 'All Jobs' & Construction Chart
From ‘Production Workers and Non-supervisory Personnel’ Table (B8).
The latest data points are for April 2021
Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)’s Employment Situation report.
Chart: ConstructConnect.
Graph 8: Average Weekly Earnings Y/Y - 'All Jobs' & Construction
Average Weekly Earnings Y/Y - 'All Jobs' & Construction Chart
From ‘Production Workers and Non-supervisory Personnel’ Table (B8).
The latest data points are for April 2021
Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)’s Employment Situation report.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

 

Table 3: Ranking of Top 20 States by YTD $ Volume of Nonresidential Construction Starts - ConstructConnect

    Jan-APR 2021 % Change vs Jan-APR 2020
       
1 Texas $13,571,433,140 -12.1%
2 California $10,607,281,032 -17.9%
3 Florida $6,608,099,683 -19.2%
4 New York $5,352,236,026 -31.4%
5 Ohio $5,325,883,141 52.2%
6 Tennessee $4,345,758,627 39.7%
7 Minnesota $4,202,542,020 63.8%
8 Georgia $4,153,767,875 -9.8%
9 North Carolina $3,830,769,211 15.5%
10 Illinois $3,812,489,993 -34.1%
11 Pennsylvania $3,605,709,126 -1.1%
12 Missouri $3,125,482,753 -36.8%
13 Michigan $3,074,315,508 22.2%
14 Virginia $3,008,475,350 -27.8%
15 Washington $2,544,264,168 -29.0%
16 Wisconsin $2,373,345,822 -30.3%
17 Massachusetts $2,259,468,853 -22.7%
18 Indiana $2,237,718,258 -23.4%
19 Colorado $2,112,107,203 -28.3%
20 Utah $1,980,025,047 -34.4%

Figures are comprised of non-res building & engineering (residential is omitted).

Data Source and Table: ConstructConnect.

Table 4: Ranking of Top 20 States by YTD $ Volume of Nonresidential Building Construction Starts - ConstructConnect

    Jan-APR 2021 % Change vs Jan-apr 2020
       
1 Texas $7,732,071,040 -23.5%
2 California $6,658,267,436 -5.6%
3 Florida $4,141,272,576 -26.8%
4 Ohio $3,646,140,943 90.3%
5 Tennessee $3,639,850,552 54.0%
6 Georgia $2,913,732,930 -6.5%
7 North Carolina $2,804,298,266 11.9%
8 New York $2,802,885,211 -48.8%
9 Pennsylvania $2,370,383,418 31.8%
10 Virginia $2,126,846,956 -25.9%
11 Illinois $1,875,256,429 -46.9%
12 Missouri $1,819,404,165 -52.4%
13 Massachusetts $1,690,409,163 -23.3%
14 Washington $1,589,257,439 -31.8%
15 Arizona $1,530,721,611 -57.2%
16 Michigan $1,359,361,654 -4.3%
17 Colorado $1,274,421,336 -37.0%
18 Alabama $1,223,114,161 -22.4%
19 South Carolina $1,159,617,485 -12.7%
20 Utah $1,126,397,402 -27.9%

Data Source and Table: ConstructConnect.

Table 5: Ranking of Top 20 States by YTD $ Volume of Heavy/Engineering Civil Construction Starts - ConstructConnect

    Jan-apr 2021 % Change vs Jan-apr 2020
       
1 Texas $5,839,362,100 9.5%
2 California $3,949,013,596 -32.6%
3 Minnesota $3,462,192,353 146.3%
4 New York $2,549,350,815 9.5%
5 Florida $2,466,827,107 -2.2%
6 Illinois $1,937,233,564 -13.9%
7 Michigan $1,714,953,854 56.7%
8 Ohio $1,679,742,198 6.1%
9 Maine $1,445,957,584 249.7%
10 Wisconsin $1,329,209,268 19.2%
11 Indiana $1,309,011,903 -9.0%
12 Missouri $1,306,078,588 16.7%
13 Georgia $1,240,034,945 -16.6%
14 Pennsylvania $1,235,325,708 -33.1%
15 North Carolina $1,026,470,945 26.8%
16 Washington $955,006,729 -23.8%
17 Iowa $885,337,944 -17.8%
18 Virginia $881,628,394 -32.0%
19 Utah $853,627,645 -41.4%
20 Colorado $837,685,867 -9.0%

Data Source and Table: ConstructConnect.

Contractors Unable to Pass Along Spiking Expenses

April 2021’s y/y results for three structures-related BLS Producer Price Index (PPI) series were as follows: ‘construction materials special index,’ +23.8% (a further astonishing climb on the heels of March’s +16.6%); ‘inputs to new construction index, excluding capital investment, labor, and imports,’ +18.8% (going a big step beyond March’s +13.5%); and ‘final demand construction,’ +2.1% (up from the previous month’s +1.5%, but mild in the context). Material input costs have been skyrocketing. Contractors, though, in a fiercely competitive marketplace, have not been able to pass along their spiking expenses.

There have been some extraordinary material cost increases year over year according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) series published by the BLS. Softwood lumber has more than doubled, +121.1%; asphalt is +64.3%; copper wire and cable, +30.9%; hot rolled steel bars, plates, and structural shapes, +26.3%; aluminum sheet and strip, +25.3%; and gypsum products, +12.1%. Steepest of all has been the y/y rise in the cost of unleaded regular gasoline, +245.3%.  

The value of construction starts each month is derived from ConstructConnect’s database of all active construction projects in the U.S. Missing project values are estimated with the help of RSMeans’ building cost models. ConstructConnect’s nonresidential construction starts series, because it is comprised of total-value estimates for individual projects, some of which are super-large, has a history of being more volatile than many other leading indicators for the economy. 

April 2021’s ‘Grand Total’ Starts -1.8% YTD

From Table 8 below, ConstructConnect’s total residential starts in April were +17.4% m/m, +70.7% y/y, and +21.6% ytd. The latest month’s multi-unit starts were +18.8% m/m and +22.0% y/y, but -6.8% ytd. Single-family starts in the latest month were +17.1% m/m, +90.2% y/y, and +33.8% ytd. Including home building with all nonresidential categories, ConstructConnect’s ‘Grand Total’ starts in April 2021 were +4.8% m/m and +15.3% y/y, but -1.8% ytd.

ConstructConnect adopts a research-assigned ‘start’ date. In concept, a ‘start’ is equivalent to ground being broken for a project to proceed. If work is abandoned or rebid, the ‘start’ date is revised to reflect the new information.


Expansion Index Monitors Construction Prospects 

The economy may be in recovery mode, but nonresidential work is usually a lagging player. Companies are hesitant to undertake capital spending until their personnel needs are rapidly expanding and their office square footage or plant footprints are straining capacity. Also, it helps if profits are abundant. (Today’s greater tendency to work from home has made office occupancy much more difficult to assess.)

Each month, ConstructConnect publishes information on upcoming construction projects at its Expansion Index. 

The Expansion Index, for hundreds of cities in the United States and Canada, calculates the ratio, based on dollar volume, of projects in the planning stage, at present, divided by the comparable figure a year ago. The ratio moves above 1.0 when there is currently a larger dollar volume of construction ‘prospects’ than there was last year at the same time. The ratio sinks below 1.0 when the opposite is the case. The results are set out in interactive maps for both countries.


Click here to download the Construction Industry Snapshot Package - April 2021 PDF.

Click here for the Top 10 Project Starts in the U.S. - April 2021.

Click here for the Nonresidential Construction Starts Trend Graphs - April 2021.

TABLE 6: VALUE OF UNITED STATES NONRESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION STARTS
APRIL 2021 – CONSTRUCTCONNECT

    % Change   % Change   % Change
  Jan-apr 21 Jan-apr 21 vs    apr 21 vs   apr 21 vs
  ($ billions) Jan-apr 20   apr 20   mar 21
             
Hotel/Motel 1.981 -64.2%   -37.8%   10.6%
Retail 3.691 -15.1%   7.7%   9.4%
Parking Garage 0.695 4.7%   -2.1%   -54.0%
Amusement 1.886 -25.9%   -43.9%   -40.9%
Private Office  4.408 -53.7%   -45.8%   7.1%
Government Office 3.013 -10.8%   -7.2%   0.7%
Laboratory 0.459 -46.2%   11.1%   -55.7%
Warehouse 6.953 -21.5%   -11.5%   1.1%
Miscellaneous Commercial* 1.811 -31.2%   2.7%   -23.8%
COMMERCIAL (big subset) 24.898 -35.0%   -20.6%   -5.1%
             
INDUSTRIAL (Manufacturing) 5.761 -12.6%   -53.8%   -73.3%
             
Religious 0.332 -44.4%   68.3%   3.7%
Hospital/Clinic 6.247 49.7%   -35.9%   -85.6%
Nursing/Assisted Living 1.507 -43.3%   -26.6%   4.3%
Library/Museum 0.609 -69.0%   -60.4%   -46.6%
Police/Courthouse/Prison 2.535 0.7%   24.7%   21.1%
Military 2.754 -19.9%   -83.7%   -70.9%
School/College 17.611 -21.5%   -13.9%   30.3%
Miscellaneous Medical 1.877 -33.6%   -0.2%   34.5%
INSTITUTIONAL 33.471 -17.6%   -26.8%   -24.0%
             
Miscellaneous Nonresidential 1.820 -5.1%   19.1%   11.5%
NONRESIDENTIAL BUILDING 65.950 -24.6%   -25.5%   -23.4%
             
Airport 0.929 -24.9%   37.6%   106.4%
Road/Highway 19.603 -5.8%   -8.0%   29.6%
Bridge 6.914 -21.6%   10.4%   14.6%
Dam/Marine 1.982 -23.9%   -20.8%   4.5%
Water/Sewage 10.380 1.0%   -12.8%   -6.8%
Miscellaneous Civil (power, pipelines, etc.) 9.115 31.6%   97.1%   84.6%
HEAVY ENGINEERING (Civil) 48.922 -3.5%   2.5%   25.3%
             
TOTAL NONRESIDENTIAL 114.873 -16.8%   -14.3%   -5.9%

*Includes transportation terminals and sports arenas.

Source: ConstructConnect Research Group and ConstructConnect.
Table: ConstructConnect.

TABLE 7: VALUE OF UNITED STATES CONSTRUCTION STARTS
CONSTRUCTCONNECT INSIGHT VERSION – MARCH 2021
Arranged to match the alphabetical category drop-down menus in INSIGHT

        % Change     % Change % Change
      Jan-Apr 21 Jan-Apr 21 vs     Apr 21 vs Apr 21 vs
      ($ billions) Jan-Apr 20     Apr 20 Mar 21
                 
Summary              
CIVIL     48.922 -3.5%     2.5% 25.3%
NONRESIDENTIAL BUILDING 65.950 -24.6%     -25.5% -23.4%
RESIDENTIAL   107.687 21.6%     70.7% 17.4%
GRAND TOTAL   222.560 -1.8%     15.3% 4.8%
                 
Verticals              
    Airport 0.929 -24.9%     37.6% 106.4%
    All Other Civil 6.037 8.0%     41.4% 29.1%
    Bridges 6.914 -21.6%     10.4% 14.6%
    Dams / Canals / Marine Work 1.982 -23.9%     -20.8% 4.5%
    Power Infrastructure 3.078 130.5%     207.7% 203.8%
    Roads 19.603 -5.8%     -8.0% 29.6%
    Water and Sewage Treatment 10.380 1.0%     -12.8% -6.8%
CIVIL     48.922 -3.5%     2.5% 25.3%
    Offices (private) 4.408 -53.7%     -45.8% 7.1%
    Parking Garages 0.695 4.7%     -2.1% -54.0%
    Transportation Terminals 0.468 -38.3%     156.6% 579.1%
  Commercial (small subset) 5.571 -49.1%     -33.2% 20.4%
    Amusement 1.886 -25.9%     -43.9% -40.9%
    Libraries / Museums 0.609 -69.0%     -60.4% -46.6%
    Religious 0.332 -44.4%     68.3% 3.7%
    Sports Arenas / Convention Centers 1.343 -28.3%     -35.6% -59.5%
  Community 4.169 -40.3%     -38.9% -46.7%
    College / University 3.796 -32.7%     -25.3% 4.3%
    Elementary / Pre School 5.239 -17.8%     0.9% 40.7%
    Jr / Sr High School 8.188 -17.0%     -16.3% 37.1%
    Special / Vocational 0.388 -31.2%     -52.0% -23.8%
  Educational 17.611 -21.5%     -13.9% 30.3%
    Courthouses 0.786 2.3%     123.5% 17.9%
    Fire and Police Stations 1.135 1.4%     42.8% -9.5%
    Government Offices 3.013 -10.8%     -7.2% 0.7%
    Prisons 0.614 -2.6%     -13.3% 114.8%
  Government 5.549 -5.9%     4.0% 8.4%
    Industrial Labs / Labs / School Labs 0.459 -46.2%     11.1% -55.7%
    Manufacturing 5.761 -12.6%     -53.8% -73.3%
    Warehouses 6.953 -21.5%     -11.5% 1.1%
  Industrial 13.174 -19.2%     -27.2% -40.9%
    Hospitals / Clinics 6.247 49.7%     -35.9% -85.6%
    Medical Misc. 1.877 -33.6%     -0.2% 34.5%
    Nursing Homes 1.507 -43.3%     -26.6% 4.3%
  Medical   9.630 -0.3%     -23.1% -65.6%
  Military   2.754 -19.9%     -83.7% -70.9%
    Hotels 1.981 -64.2%     -37.8% 10.6%
    Retail Misc. 1.820 -5.1%     19.1% 11.5%
    Shopping 3.691 -15.1%     7.7% 9.4%
  Retail   7.492 -36.5%     -9.0% 10.2%
NONRESIDENTIAL BUILDING 65.950 -24.6%     -25.5% -23.4%
    Multi-Family 24.717 -6.8%     22.0% 18.8%
    Single-Family 82.970 33.8%     90.2% 17.1%
RESIDENTIAL   107.687 21.6%     70.7% 17.4%
NONRESIDENTIAL 114.873 -16.8%     -14.3% -5.9%
GRAND TOTAL   222.560 -1.8%     15.3% 4.8%

Table 2 conforms to the type-of-structure ordering adopted by many firms and organizations in the industry. Specifically, it breaks nonresidential building into ICI work (i.e., industrial, commercial, and institutional), since each has its own set of economic and demographic drivers. Table 3 presents an alternative, perhaps more user-friendly and intuitive type-of-structure ordering that matches how the data appears in ConstructConnect Insight.

Source: ConstructConnect.
Table: ConstructConnect.

TABLE 8: VALUE OF UNITED STATES NATIONAL CONSTRUCTION STARTS – APRIL 2021 – CONSTRUCTCONNECT
Billions of current $s, not seasonally adjusted (NSA)

  Latest month actuals  Moving averages (placed in end month) Year to Date. 
        3-months 12-months JAN-APR JAN-APR
  FEB 21 MAR 21 APR 21 FEB 21 MAR 21 APR 21 FEB 21 MAR 21 APR 21 2020 2021
                       
Single Family 16.526 22.671 26.543 17.873 18.809 21.913 18.468 18.979 20.028 62.024 82.970
   month-over-month % change -4.1% 37.2% 17.1% -5.0% 5.2% 16.5% 0.1% 2.8% 5.5%    
   year-over-year % change 1.2% 37.0% 90.2% 13.9% 17.4% 40.4% 9.5% 12.2% 21.0% -0.1% 33.8%
Apartment 7.488 5.751 6.830 5.681 5.962 6.690 6.365 6.259 6.362 26.519 24.717
   month-over-month % change 61.1% -23.2% 18.8% 7.0% 4.9% 12.2% 1.3% -1.7% 1.6%    
   year-over-year % change 15.4% -18.1% 22.0% -24.5% -14.5% 5.0% -22.3% -23.1% -19.8% -12.8% -6.8%
TOTAL RESIDENTIAL 24.014 28.423 33.373 23.554 24.771 28.603 24.834 25.238 26.390 88.544 107.687
   month-over-month % change 9.8% 18.4% 17.4% -2.4% 5.2% 15.5% 0.4% 1.6% 4.6%    
   year-over-year % change 5.3% 20.6% 70.7% 1.4% 7.7% 30.1% -0.9% 0.8% 7.8% -4.3% 21.6%
Hotel/Motel 0.325 0.554 0.613 0.354 0.456 0.497 0.621 0.583 0.552 5.530 1.981
   month-over-month % change -33.7% 70.6% 10.6% -39.3% 29.0% 9.0% -18.4% -6.1% -5.3%    
   year-over-year % change -83.8% -45.1% -37.8% -81.0% -69.9% -62.8% -68.6% -68.1% -68.4% -31.5% -64.2%
Retail 0.722 0.994 1.088 0.742 0.868 0.935 0.966 0.941 0.947 4.349 3.691
   month-over-month % change -18.5% 37.7% 9.4% -8.5% 17.0% 7.7% -1.1% -2.5% 0.7%    
   year-over-year % change -14.9% -22.9% 7.7% -25.5% -22.0% -10.9% -24.9% -26.4% -23.3% -28.0% -15.1%
Parking Garages 0.241 0.155 0.071 0.183 0.208 0.156 0.147 0.148 0.148 0.664 0.695
   month-over-month % change 5.2% -35.7% -54.0% 37.7% 13.7% -25.2% 10.4% 0.7% -0.1%    
   year-over-year % change 223.7% 9.2% -2.1% -4.5% 5.6% 61.6% -44.8% -40.2% -34.9% -39.7% 4.7%
Amusement 0.466 0.631 0.373 0.433 0.504 0.490 0.494 0.495 0.471 2.546 1.886
   month-over-month % change 12.0% 35.4% -40.9% 8.9% 16.5% -2.8% -1.1% 0.3% -4.9%    
   year-over-year % change -12.6% 3.1% -43.9% -32.1% -19.6% -18.8% -24.8% -24.8% -29.0% 16.5% -25.9%
Office 1.029 0.980 1.050 1.307 1.119 1.020 1.690 1.666 1.592 9.512 4.408
   month-over-month % change -23.6% -4.7% 7.1% -39.4% -14.4% -8.9% -10.7% -1.4% -4.4%    
   year-over-year % change -70.2% -23.0% -45.8% -52.6% -55.7% -54.0% -50.2% -46.7% -47.2% -4.0% -53.7%
Governmental Offices 0.713 0.821 0.827 0.705 0.729 0.787 0.881 0.872 0.867 3.379 3.013
   month-over-month % change 9.2% 15.2% 0.7% -2.7% 3.4% 7.9% -0.7% -1.0% -0.6%    
   year-over-year % change -9.3% -10.9% -7.2% -9.1% -12.1% -9.2% -11.5% -14.1% -14.2% 12.6% -10.8%
Laboratories 0.113 0.184 0.082 0.143 0.126 0.126 0.159 0.158 0.159 0.854 0.459
   month-over-month % change 39.2% 63.0% -55.7% -6.8% -12.2% 0.1% -1.8% -0.1% 0.4%    
   year-over-year % change -23.6% -0.7% 11.1% -52.4% -51.6% -6.9% -30.6% -29.4% -25.7% 22.1% -46.2%
Warehouse 1.266 2.285 2.311 1.157 1.547 1.954 1.898 1.967 1.942 8.857 6.953
   month-over-month % change 16.1% 80.5% 1.1% -23.4% 33.8% 26.3% -0.7% 3.7% -1.3%    
   year-over-year % change -10.6% 57.5% -11.5% -49.8% -25.7% 7.0% -7.5% -4.2% -3.8% 23.0% -21.5%
Misc Commercial 0.149 0.784 0.598 0.194 0.405 0.510 0.490 0.501 0.502 2.632 1.811
   month-over-month % change -47.2% 427.4% -23.8% -30.8% 108.7% 26.1% -7.3% 2.3% 0.3%    
   year-over-year % change -75.7% 21.1% 2.7% -74.5% -40.8% -16.8% -69.9% -67.9% -67.5% -43.5% -31.2%
TOTAL COMMERCIAL 5.023 7.389 7.012 5.217 5.962 6.475 7.344 7.332 7.181 38.324 24.898
   month-over-month % change -8.2% 47.1% -5.1% -22.7% 14.3% 8.6% -5.2% -0.2% -2.1%    
   year-over-year % change -49.1% -1.9% -20.6% -50.7% -39.4% -25.9% -41.2% -38.9% -38.5% -10.6% -35.0%
TOTAL INDUSTRIAL  (Manufacturing) 0.508 2.869 0.765 0.886 1.666 1.381 1.585 1.751 1.677 6.592 5.761
   month-over-month % change -68.6% 464.5% -73.3% -12.1% 87.9% -17.1% -9.8% 10.4% -4.2%    
   year-over-year % change -80.3% 224.6% -53.8% -53.2% 1.2% -19.0% -64.7% -57.4% -58.9% -50.8% -12.6%
Religious 0.051 0.116 0.120 0.095 0.071 0.096 0.123 0.110 0.114 0.597 0.332
   month-over-month % change 15.0% 126.4% 3.7% -25.1% -26.0% 35.8% -4.0% -10.8% 3.7%    
   year-over-year % change -54.6% -57.8% 68.3% -21.4% -59.8% -37.4% -19.4% -32.4% -27.0% -2.6% -44.4%
Hosptials/Clinics 1.162 3.769 0.541 0.866 1.902 1.824 1.008 1.270 1.244 4.172 6.247
   month-over-month % change 50.2% 224.2% -85.6% -18.3% 119.7% -4.1% -2.5% 25.9% -2.0%    
   year-over-year % change -21.2% 495.0% -35.9% -46.9% 71.5% 85.3% -45.6% -28.4% -29.9% -10.2% 49.7%
Nursing/Assisted Living 0.122 0.468 0.488 0.362 0.340 0.359 0.533 0.520 0.506 2.656 1.507
   month-over-month % change -71.6% 283.8% 4.3% -29.7% -6.1% 5.8% -7.0% -2.4% -2.8%    
   year-over-year % change -79.7% -24.7% -26.6% -40.6% -48.8% -42.9% -29.3% -27.6% -28.0% -30.6% -43.3%
Libraries/Museums 0.104 0.203 0.108 0.141 0.167 0.138 0.216 0.213 0.199 1.965 0.609
   month-over-month % change -46.5% 95.5% -46.6% -25.1% 17.9% -17.1% -19.4% -1.6% -6.5%    
   year-over-year % change -85.7% -17.0% -60.4% -74.4% -70.4% -66.7% -50.0% -49.6% -52.4% 94.5% -69.0%
Police/Courthouse/Prison 0.497 0.498 0.603 0.718 0.644 0.533 0.677 0.664 0.674 2.518 2.535
   month-over-month % change -47.0% 0.4% 21.1% -20.7% -10.4% -17.3% 0.7% -2.0% 1.5%    
   year-over-year % change 12.1% -24.4% 24.7% 14.4% -5.0% 0.8% 8.6% 4.1% 6.4% 35.4% 0.7%
Military 0.408 1.092 0.318 0.578 0.812 0.606 0.799 0.846 0.709 3.437 2.754
   month-over-month % change -56.5% 167.9% -70.9% -27.4% 40.5% -25.4% 1.1% 5.8% -16.1%    
   year-over-year % change 34.1% 103.5% -83.7% 47.6% 64.4% -35.0% 73.0% 79.5% 15.3% 210.5% -19.9%
Schools/Colleges 4.054 4.123 5.374 3.793 4.079 4.517 5.524 5.250 5.178 22.444 17.611
   month-over-month % change -0.1% 1.7% 30.3% -2.4% 7.5% 10.7% 0.0% -4.9% -1.4%    
   year-over-year % change 0.4% -44.3% -13.9% -19.5% -24.5% -23.3% -11.5% -17.2% -16.3% -6.9% -21.5%
Misc Government 0.492 0.429 0.577 0.548 0.433 0.500 0.646 0.583 0.583 2.826 1.877
   month-over-month % change 30.3% -12.8% 34.5% -7.6% -21.0% 15.3% 0.3% -9.8% 0.0%    
   year-over-year % change 4.3% -63.9% -0.2% -12.5% -42.2% -33.1% -14.6% -27.6% -24.7% -1.8% -33.6%
TOTAL INSTITUTIONAL 6.890 10.698 8.130 7.101 8.447 8.573 9.527 9.456 9.207 40.616 33.471
   month-over-month % change -11.1% 55.3% -24.0% -12.0% 18.9% 1.5% -1.1% -0.8% -2.6%    
   year-over-year % change -15.7% -7.4% -26.8% -23.4% -14.1% -16.6% -15.5% -16.6% -18.2% 1.4% -17.6%
Misc Non Residential 0.476 0.440 0.491 0.447 0.443 0.469 0.460 0.454 0.460 1.918 1.820
   month-over-month % change 15.5% -7.6% 11.5% 0.6% -1.0% 5.9% 0.9% -1.3% 1.4%    
   year-over-year % change 11.2% -14.4% 19.1% -6.7% -11.7% 3.9% -27.7% -28.3% -24.6% -14.9% -5.1%
TOTAL NONRES BUILDING 12.898 21.396 16.398 13.653 16.518 16.897 18.916 18.992 18.525 87.451 65.950
   month-over-month % change -15.5% 65.9% -23.4% -16.1% 21.0% 2.3% -3.5% 0.4% -2.5%    
   year-over-year % change -38.7% 4.4% -25.5% -38.6% -24.3% -20.2% -34.5% -32.3% -33.0% -11.3% -24.6%
Airports 0.176 0.203 0.420 0.156 0.170 0.266 0.500 0.469 0.478 1.236 0.929
   month-over-month % change 36.4% 15.2% 106.4% -50.7% 9.0% 57.0% -0.3% -6.3% 2.0%    
   year-over-year % change -10.5% -64.9% 37.6% -40.8% -45.3% -26.0% -8.3% -17.4% -12.7% -39.9% -24.9%
Roads/Highways 3.565 5.436 7.045 3.480 4.186 5.349 5.258 5.247 5.195 20.819 19.603
   month-over-month % change 0.3% 52.5% 29.6% -14.7% 20.3% 27.8% -0.1% -0.2% -1.0%    
   year-over-year % change -2.2% -2.5% -8.0% -12.8% -4.6% -4.9% -3.8% -4.5% -6.2% 5.7% -5.8%
Bridges 1.102 1.736 1.989 1.921 1.642 1.609 1.816 1.720 1.736 8.821 6.914
   month-over-month % change -47.2% 57.4% 14.6% 0.3% -14.5% -2.0% -3.5% -5.3% 0.9%    
   year-over-year % change -41.9% -39.9% 10.4% 0.0% -29.8% -26.7% -26.4% -33.1% -20.0% -32.0% -21.6%
Dams/Marine 0.411 0.546 0.570 0.422 0.471 0.509 0.658 0.651 0.638 2.604 1.982
   month-over-month % change -9.9% 32.9% 4.5% -20.9% 11.6% 8.1% 1.4% -1.0% -1.9%    
   year-over-year % change 36.8% -13.0% -20.8% -23.6% -25.1% -7.3% -13.2% -17.4% -21.8% 92.9% -23.9%
Water/Sewage 2.001 2.776 2.588 2.469 2.598 2.455 2.669 2.634 2.603 10.282 10.380
   month-over-month % change -33.7% 38.7% -6.8% 1.8% 5.2% -5.5% -0.2% -1.3% -1.2%    
   year-over-year % change -2.6% -13.0% -12.8% 1.5% 6.5% -10.3% 3.6% -1.5% -1.5% 0.8% 1.0%
Misc Civil 0.687 1.326 2.448 2.220 2.222 1.487 1.955 1.928 2.029 6.923 9.115
   month-over-month % change -85.2% 93.1% 84.6% -9.3% 0.1% -33.1% -1.2% -1.4% 5.2%    
   year-over-year % change -30.0% -19.4% 97.1% -38.7% 17.3% 15.3% -51.7% -52.1% -49.0% 29.3% 31.6%
TOTAL ENGINEERING 7.942 12.023 15.060 10.668 11.288 11.675 12.856 12.649 12.679 50.685 48.922
   month-over-month % change -42.9% 51.4% 25.3% -9.0% 5.8% 3.4% -0.7% -1.6% 0.2%    
   year-over-year % change -12.5% -17.1% 2.5% -16.5% -5.9% -8.5% -18.9% -21.5% -19.2% -1.8% -3.5%
GRAND TOTAL 44.854 61.842 64.831 47.875 52.577 57.176 56.606 56.880 57.594 226.679 222.560
   month-over-month % change -12.1% 37.9% 4.8% -8.2% 9.8% 8.7% -1.2% 0.5% 1.3%    
   year-over-year % change -15.3% 5.6% 15.3% -17.8% -7.5% 2.2% -18.9% -17.8% -15.1% -6.6% -1.8%
NONRES BLDG + ENGINEERING 20.840 33.419 31.458 24.321 27.805 28.572 31.772 31.641 31.204 138.136 114.873
   month-over-month % change -28.5% 60.4% -5.9% -13.1% 14.3% 2.8% -2.4% -0.4% -1.4%    
   year-over-year % change -30.8% -4.5% -14.3% -30.5% -17.8% -15.8% -29.0% -28.4% -28.0% -8.0% -16.8%

Data Source and Table: ConstructConnect.

TABLE 9: U.S. YEAR-TO-DATE REGIONAL STARTS,
NONRESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION* — CONSTRUCTCONNECT

  JAN-APR 2020   JAN-APR 2021   % Change
           
Connecticut $931,575,311   $802,719,519   -13.8%
Maine $570,542,697   $1,730,476,005   203.3%
Massachusetts $2,924,606,923   $2,259,468,853   -22.7%
New Hampshire $319,583,127   $269,024,166   -15.8%
Rhode Island $256,355,464   $458,177,123   78.7%
Vermont $237,892,728   $116,726,526   -50.9%
Total New England $5,240,556,250   $5,636,592,192   7.6%
New Jersey $2,654,593,010   $1,550,597,201   -41.6%
New York $7,805,479,952   $5,352,236,026   -31.4%
Pennsylvania $3,646,401,227   $3,605,709,126   -1.1%
Total Middle Atlantic $14,106,474,189   $10,508,542,353   -25.5%
TOTAL NORTHEAST $19,347,030,439   $16,145,134,545   -16.5%
Illinois $5,781,899,902   $3,812,489,993   -34.1%
Indiana $2,922,700,127   $2,237,718,258   -23.4%
Michigan $2,515,384,243   $3,074,315,508   22.2%
Ohio $3,499,024,509   $5,325,883,141   52.2%
Wisconsin $3,406,386,529   $2,373,345,822   -30.3%
Total East North Central $18,125,395,310   $16,823,752,722   -7.2%
Iowa $2,091,209,377   $1,546,614,662   -26.0%
Kansas $1,405,721,769   $1,119,631,486   -20.4%
Minnesota $2,565,729,636   $4,202,542,020   63.8%
Missouri $4,944,932,414   $3,125,482,753   -36.8%
Nebraska $2,089,653,084   $1,238,358,778   -40.7%
North Dakota $475,739,815   $670,464,889   40.9%
South Dakota $456,629,982   $566,356,021   24.0%
Total West North Central $14,029,616,077   $12,469,450,609   -11.1%
TOTAL MIDWEST $32,155,011,387   $29,293,203,331   -8.9%
Delaware $672,218,235   $391,341,658   -41.8%
District of Columbia $298,689,291   $387,128,965   29.6%
Florida $8,180,379,762   $6,608,099,683   -19.2%
Georgia $4,604,026,718   $4,153,767,875   -9.8%
Maryland $2,829,505,751   $959,328,568   -66.1%
North Carolina $3,316,851,990   $3,830,769,211   15.5%
South Carolina $1,961,572,463   $1,746,570,623   -11.0%
Virginia $4,166,415,003   $3,008,475,350   -27.8%
West Virginia $1,157,643,675   $345,602,707   -70.1%
Total South Atlantic $27,187,302,888   $21,431,084,640   -21.2%
Alabama $2,114,016,042   $1,776,149,095   -16.0%
Kentucky $1,173,485,486   $1,009,615,398   -14.0%
Mississippi $1,187,723,471   $536,238,172   -54.9%
Tennessee $3,109,691,421   $4,345,758,627   39.7%
Total East South Central $7,584,916,420   $7,667,761,292   1.1%
Arkansas $1,708,411,705   $660,735,286   -61.3%
Louisiana $1,685,270,377   $1,259,665,098   -25.3%
Oklahoma $1,317,250,450   $1,206,790,015   -8.4%
Texas $15,438,331,632   $13,571,433,140   -12.1%
Total West South Central $20,149,264,164   $16,698,623,539   -17.1%
TOTAL SOUTH $54,921,483,472   $45,797,469,471   -16.6%
Arizona $4,084,815,746   $1,859,229,363   -54.5%
Colorado $2,944,832,758   $2,112,107,203   -28.3%
Idaho $500,576,922   $292,590,221   -41.5%
Montana $465,227,350   $272,011,739   -41.5%
Nevada $1,541,195,123   $898,081,553   -41.7%
New Mexico $580,761,845   $706,166,010   21.6%
Utah $3,020,289,705   $1,980,025,047   -34.4%
Wyoming $332,559,518   $252,527,560   -24.1%
Total Mountain $13,470,258,967   $8,372,738,696   -37.8%
Alaska $289,189,539   $323,517,627   11.9%
California $12,913,874,613   $10,607,281,032   -17.9%
Hawaii $302,995,265   $471,922,039   55.8%
Oregon $1,152,699,863   $1,317,327,214   14.3%
Washington $3,583,131,016   $2,544,264,168   -29.0%
Total Pacific $18,241,890,296   $15,264,312,080   -16.3%
TOTAL WEST $31,712,149,263   $23,637,050,776   -25.5%
TOTAL U.S. $138,135,674,561   $114,872,858,123   -16.8%

*Figures above are comprised of nonres building and engineering (i.e., residential is omitted).

Data Source and Table: ConstructConnect.

About Alex Carrick

Alex Carrick is Chief Economist for ConstructConnect. He has delivered presentations throughout North America on the U.S., Canadian and world construction outlooks. Mr. Carrick has been with the company since 1985.