Construction activity up 3 percent in 2001

The value of new construction starts in December dropped one percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $479.9 billion, according to the F.W.

Dodge Division of the McGraw-Hill Companies. Gains were reported for housing and public works, while nonresidential building fell back after its improved pace in November. For all of 2001, total construction advanced 3 percent to $485.2 billion, marking the tenth straight year of expansion. The 3 percent increase followed growth of 5 percent in 2000 and 11 percent in 1999.

Residential building in December edged up one percent. Although single family housing fell 2 percent, it was offset by a 15 percent increase for the smaller multifamily segment. For all of 2001, residential building grew 4 percent to $215.9 billion, the result of a 5 percent gain for single family housing combined with a 2 percent decline for multifamily housing.

In terms of geography, residential building in 2001 registered this pattern - the South Atlantic, up 6 percent; the Midwest, up 5 percent; the South Central, up 3 percent; and the West and Northeast, each up 2 percent.

Nonresidential building in December fell 11 percent after the prior month's heightened amount. For the full year 2001, nonresidential building was down 4 percent to $165.8 billion. The largest declines were reported for offices, down 22 percent; hotels, down 21 percent; and warehouses, down 15 percent.

Most of the institutional categories witnessed growth during 2001. School construction advanced 16 percent, surpassing the previous record volume that had been achieved in 2000. Transportation terminal work in 2001 climbed 25 percent, and gains were also reported for healthcare facilities, up 10 percent; courthouses and detention facilities, up 5 percent; and churches, up one percent. However, amusement?related projects were down 14 percent in 2001, as convention centers retreated from an exceptional 2000 and movie theater construction continued to see sharp retrenchment.

Nonbuilding construction in December bounced back 16 percent, after a weak November for public works. For the full year 2001, nonbuilding construction climbed 14 percent to $103.4 billion.

The annual figures for total construction in 2001 showed growth in four out of the five major regions. Both the South Central and the Midwest registered 5 percent gains; followed by the West, up 3 percent; and the South Atlantic, up 2 percent. The Northeast, which had reported the largest percentage increase in 2000, was the only region to see a total construction decline in 2001, sliding one percent.

600450 Construction activity up 3 percent in 2001

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