New construction starts increased 5 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $595.1 billion, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of the McGraw-Hill Companies. July showed stronger activity for each of the construction industry’s main sectors – nonresidential building, residential building, and nonbuilding construction, including public works and electric utilities. And for the first seven months of 2004, total construction on an unadjusted basis was 10 percent higher than the corresponding period for 2003.
“Commercial building has picked up the pace, and even institutional building and public works are seeing modest improvement after their weak performance earlier in 2004,” said Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs for MHC.
Nonresidential building jumped 9 percent in July, with a major part of the nonresidential gain was related to the groundbreaking for the Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan. With this large project excluded from the statistics, nonresidential building still rose 3 percent for the month.
Residential building advanced 4 percent in July and non-building construction rose 6 percent.