[This article was reprinted from the Dodge Construction Network]
Total construction starts rose 48 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.36 trillion, according to the Dodge Construction Network. This gain results from the start of three large manufacturing plants and two LNG export facilities. However, even without these projects, total construction starts would still have increased 7 percent. Nonresidential building starts rose 79 percent in July, and nonbuilding starts jumped 120 percent, conversely residential starts decreased 8 percent.
Year-to-date, total construction was 11 percent higher in the first seven months of 2022 compared to the same period of 2021. Nonresidential building starts rose 22 percent over the year, residential starts were 1 percent higher, and nonbuilding starts were up 16 percent.
For the 12 months ending July 2022, total construction starts increased 10 percent compared to the 12 months ending July 2021. Nonresidential starts were 21 percent higher, residential starts gained 4 percent, and nonbuilding starts were up 10 percent.
“Mega-projects aside, construction continues to improve despite the pressure created by higher interest rates and labor scarcity,” said Richard Branch, chief economist for Dodge Construction Network. “Combined with the strong labor market, this is another indicator that the U.S. is not currently in a recession. However, the Federal Reserve will continue to aggressively raise interest rates until they feel that inflation is under control. This will create mounting pressure on building activity and potentially lead to a slowdown in construction starts by year-end.”
Below is the breakdown for construction starts:
Nonbuilding construction starts rose 120 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $433.5 billion. The main driver of growth during the month was the utility/gas sector, as two multi-billion-dollar LNG export plants broke ground. If not for those two projects, nonbuilding starts would have still risen a healthy 29 percent in July because of gains in miscellaneous nonbuilding starts (+85 percent), environmental public works (+60 percent) and highway and bridge starts (+33 percent). Through the first seven months of the year, total nonbuilding starts were 16 percent higher than in 2021. Utility/gas plant starts gained 63 percent through seven months, highway and bridge starts were 16 percent higher, and environmental public works were 2 percent higher. Miscellaneous nonbuilding starts, by contrast, were down 20 percent through seven months.
For the 12 months ending July 2022, total nonbuilding starts were 10 percent higher than in the 12 months ending July 2021. Utility/gas plant starts were 44 percent higher, highway and bridge starts rose 7 percent, and environmental public works increased by 4 percent. Miscellaneous nonbuilding starts decreased 18 percent.
The largest nonbuilding projects to break ground in July were the $9.4 billion first phase of the Driftwood LNG export terminal in Calcasieu Parish, La.; the $7 billion third stage of the Cheniere Corpus Christi LNG in Gregory, Texas; and the $2 billion Intermountain Power Project in Delta, Utah.
Nonresidential building starts rose an astonishing 79 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $530.5 billion. Manufacturing was the main driver of growth because of four projects breaking ground that together total $17.9 billion. Without these projects, nonresidential building starts would still have risen by 16 percent. Institutional starts rose 28 percent during the month because of a solid gain for healthcare starts, while commercial starts lost 11 percent. Through the first seven months of 2022, nonresidential building starts were 22 percent higher than during the first seven months of 2021. Commercial starts advanced 13 percent and institutional starts rose 2 percent, while manufacturing starts were 185 percent higher on a year-to-date basis. For the 12 months ending July 2022, nonresidential building starts were 21 percent higher than in the 12 months ending July 2021. Commercial starts grew 13 percent, institutional starts rose 6 percent, and manufacturing starts swelled 170 percent on a 12-month rolling sum basis.
The largest nonresidential building projects to break ground in July were the $10 billion Intel Semiconductor plant in Jersey Township, Ohio; the $2.9 billion BlueOval SK Battery Park Ford plant in Glendale, Ky.; and the $2.8 billion BlueOval City manufacturing campus in Stanton, Tenn.
Residential building starts decline
Residential building starts fell 8 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $391.9 billion. Single family starts lost 9 percent, and multifamily starts were 5 percent lower. Through the first seven months of 2022, residential starts were 1 percent higher than that of the same timeframe in 2021. Multifamily starts were up 24 percent, while single family housing slipped 7 percent.
For the 12 months ending July 2022, residential starts improved 4 percent from the same period ending July 2021. Single family starts were 4 percent lower, and multifamily starts were 26 percent stronger on a 12-month rolling sum basis.
The largest multifamily structures to break ground in July were the $680 million first phase of the OneJournal Square building in Jersey City, N.Y.; the $380 million 90 Ninety mixed-use building in Jamaica, N.Y., and the $325 million Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Regionally, total construction starts in July rose in all regions except for the West.