August construction starts settled back 4% from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $573.3 billion, it was reported by McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. The retreat for total construction was due to a slower pace for nonresidential building after a very strong July, in combination with a slight loss of momentum for residential building and nonbuilding construction (public works and electric utilities). For the first eight months of 2004, total construction on an unadjusted basis came to $394.3 billion, up 10% from the same period a year ago.
"Total construction continues to move at a healthy pace, and it's now virtually certain that full year growth for 2004 will exceed the 5% gain in 2003," stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction. "Single family housing is still exceptionally strong, and the broad trend for commercial building this year is generally upward, even with the reduced amount of construction starts in August. At the same time, tight fiscal conditions over the past several years continue to have a restraining influence on the institutional structure types and public works construction."