Total construction starts rose 9% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.013 trillion, according to Dodge Construction Network. Nonresidential building starts swelled 32% due to the start of three large manufacturing facilities. By contrast, residential starts fell 3%, and nonbuilding starts fell by less than 1%. Without the three large manufacturing projects, total construction would have declined 6% in February.
Starts for highways and bridges fell by less than 1% in February. For the 12 months ending February 2022, highway and bridge starts were up 2%.
“The manufacturing sector has been an important success story for construction since the pandemic began,” stated Richard Branch, chief economist for Dodge Construction Network. “Domestic producers are expected to seek more control over their supply chains in the future, so that aspect of construction should continue to flourish. However, as evident in February’s data, other sectors are struggling to gain traction in the face of high material prices and worker shortages. The conflict in Ukraine will continue to put upward pressure on costs, making the sector’s recovery more tenuous in 2022.”
Nonbuilding construction starts fell by less than 1% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $198.4 billion. Utility/gas plant starts rose 66% over the month, while environmental public works starts fell 23%. Starts for highways and bridges, as well as for the miscellaneous nonbuilding category, each fell by less than 1% in February.
Nonresidential building starts jumped 32% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $385.6 billion. Manufacturing starts more than doubled as three large plants got underway. If not for these three projects, total nonresidential starts would have lost 15%. In February, commercial starts fell 8%, and institutional starts lost 22%.
Residential building starts fell 3% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $429 billion. Single-family starts lost 4%, but multifamily starts increased 2%.