The value of new construction starts fell 5% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $483.5 billion, it was reported by McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge. Declines were registered by two of the construction industry's three main sectors, nonresidential building and nonbuilding construction. The industry's other main sector, residential building, held steady in September. Over the first nine months of 2002, total construction contract value was essentially even with the same period a year ago.
"The construction industry continues to hover around its average pace for the previous year, with August slightly above and September slightly below that pace," stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction. "Single family housing remains at a high level, offsetting the prolonged weakness being experienced by commercial building. The institutional building categories have stayed strong for much of 2002, although their loss of momentum in September suggests that tighter fiscal conditions at the state level are beginning to have a dampening impact. The public works categories have also held up fairly well to this point, but they too are expected to see some loss of momentum in the coming months."