New construction starts in March increased 11% from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $785.2 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The substantial gain followed modest declines in January (down 2%) and February (down 3%), and brings the pace of total construction starts to the highest level over the past six months.
The nonbuilding construction sector, comprised of public works and electric utilities/gas plants, soared 73% in March, boosted by the start of several very large projects. These included the $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline expansion in West Virginia and Virginia, the $1.1 billion I-405 highway project in Orange County CA, the $855 million Grand Parkway highway project in Houston TX, and a $400 million wind farm in Kansas.
At the same time, both nonresidential building and residential building eased back slightly in March, with respective declines of 1% and 2%.”