Total Construction Falls Sharply in November

Total construction starts fell 14% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $867.8 billion, according to Dodge Construction Network. Nonbuilding and nonresidential building starts bore the brunt of the decline, falling 30% and 21%, respectively, after seeing sharp increases in October as three large projects broke ground. Residential starts gained a modest 3%. Without October’s large projects, total construction starts in November would have increased by 5%.

Highway and bridge starts gained 11%.

  • Nonbuilding construction starts dropped 30% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $188.1 billion. This decline followed a strong October, which included the groundbreaking of an $8.5 billion LNG export facility. With that project removed from the data, November starts would have increased 13%. November’s miscellaneous nonbuilding category jumped 70%. However, environmental public starts lost 14%, and starts of utilities/gas plants fell 69%. Year-to-date, total nonbuilding starts were 1% higher than a year earlier through November. Environmental public works were 19% higher, and utility/gas plant starts were up 15%. Highway and bridge starts were 7% lower and miscellaneous nonbuilding fell 15% during the first 11 months of the year.
  • Nonresidential building starts lost 21% in November, falling to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $281.1 billion. This decline is due to the start of two large manufacturing projects in the previous month. Without these two projects in the data, nonresidential building projects would have increased 5% in November. In November, commercial building starts fell 10%, with only parking structures and warehouses showing small gains. Manufacturing fell by a sharp 96%. Institutional starts, by contrast, gained 28%, with all categories rising. In the first 11 months of 2021, nonresidential building starts were 11% higher. Commercial starts increased 7%, manufacturing starts were 86% higher, and institutional starts were up 5%.
  • Residential building starts rose 3% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $398.6 billion. Multifamily starts moved 16% higher, while single family starts slipped 2%. Through the first 11 months of 2021, residential starts were up 20% over the same period one year ago. Single family starts gained 20%, and multifamily start rose 23%.

Regionally, total construction starts improved in the Northeast and Midwest regions but fell in the South Atlantic, South Central and West regions.

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