March Construction Holds Steady
(Source: McGraw-Hill) Nonresidential building in March grew 6% to $155.1 billion (annual rate). On the plus side, the healthcare facilities category jumped 58%, providing more evidence that it’s rebounding after the loss of momentum reported in 2009. Large healthcare projects that reached groundbreaking in March included a $232 million hospital tower in Durham NC, a $120 million hospital in Hershey PA, a $115 million hospital in Monroeville PA, and a $106 million medical center in McKinney TX. The amusement-related category had a particularly strong March, soaring 248%, reflecting the start of an $800 million basketball arena in Brooklyn NY and a $341 million convention center in Nashville TN. Office construction rose 20% in March, helped by groundbreaking for the $369 million U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington DC. Small gains in March were reported for churches, up 6%; and stores, up 1%. The manufacturing plant category in March advanced 215% from an extremely depressed February, with the lift coming from a $225 million upgrade to a packaging plant in Georgia.
On the negative side, school construction showed more weakness, sliding 13% in March as state and local finances continue to deteriorate. A few large high schools still reached groundbreaking in March, including an $81 million high school in Maryland and an $80 million high school in Kansas. The public buildings category slipped back from earlier strength, retreating 12% in March, and the transportation terminal category dropped 83% from an exceptional February which included $1.1 billion for terminal construction at Los Angeles International Airport. Also posting declines in March were warehouses, down 6%; and hotels, down 27%. See complete forecast
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