At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of$483.6 billion, the value of new construction starts in February slipped 3%, according to McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Each of the construction industry's three main sectors – nonresidential building, residential building, and nonbuilding construction (public works and electric utilities) – registered moderate declines in February compared to the previous month.
"Total construction activity during 2003 is expected to see some loss of momentum, and February's mild setback is consistent with that trend," stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge. "Last year, the brisk pace for single family housing offset weakness for commercial building, but sluggish employment and shaky consumer confidence are beginning to dampen homebuyer demand. Tighter fiscal conditions are now having a restraining impact on institutional building and public works. The commercial structure types remain generally depressed, but on a positive note, their up-and-down pattern of recent months suggests that a leveling-off process is underway, following the extended slide witnessed over the past two years."