Total Construction Starts Rose 9 Percent in February

Total construction starts rose 9 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.013 trillion, according to Dodge Construction Network. Nonresidential building starts swelled 32 percent due to the start of three large manufacturing facilities. By contrast, residential starts fell 3 percent, and nonbuilding starts fell by less than 1 percent. Without the three large manufacturing projects, total construction would have declined 6 percent in February.

Total construction starts rose 9 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.013 trillion, according to Dodge Construction Network.

Year-to-date, total construction was 14 percent higher in the first two months of 2022 than in the same period of 2021. Nonresidential building starts jumped 39 percent, nonbuilding starts rose 4 percent and residential starts gained 5 percent. For the 12 months ending February 2022, total construction starts were 16 percent above the 12 months ending February 2021. Nonresidential starts were 23 percent higher, residential starts gained 19 percent and nonbuilding starts were up 1 percent.

“The manufacturing sector has been an important success story for construction since the pandemic began,” states Richard Branch, chief economist for Dodge Construction Network. “Domestic producers are expected to seek more control over their supply chains in the future, so that aspect of construction should continue to flourish. However, as evident in February’s data, other sectors are struggling to gain traction in the face of high material prices and worker shortages. The conflict in Ukraine will continue to put upward pressure on costs, making the sector’s recovery more tenuous in 2022.”

Below is the breakdown for construction starts:

  • Nonbuilding construction starts fell by less than 1 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $198.4 billion. Utility/gas plant starts rose 66 percent over the month, while environmental public works starts fell 23 percent. Starts for highways and bridges, as well as for the miscellaneous nonbuilding category, each fell by less than 1 percent in February.

    For the 12 months ending February 2022, total nonbuilding starts were 1 percent higher than in the 12 months ending February 2021. Environmental public works starts were up 16 percent and utility/gas plant starts rose 7 percent. Highway and bridge starts were up 2 percent on a 12-month rolling sum basis, while miscellaneous nonbuilding starts were 26 percent lower.  

The largest nonbuilding projects to break ground in February were the $492 million Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line in Middleton, Wis., a $385 million solar farm in Ventress, La., and the $350 million Sapphire Sky wind farm in Farmer City, Ill.

  • Nonresidential building starts jumped 32 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $385.6 billion. Manufacturing starts more than doubled as three large plants got underway. If not for these three projects, total nonresidential starts would have lost 15 percent. In February, commercial starts fell 8 percent, and institutional starts lost 22 percent.

    For the 12 months ending February 2022, nonresidential building starts were 23 percent higher than in the 12 months ending February 2021. Commercial starts were up 17 percent, institutional starts rose 12 percent and manufacturing starts advanced 143 percent on a 12-month rolling sum basis.

    The largest nonresidential building projects to break ground in February were the $10 billion Intel chip fabrication plants in Chandler, Ariz., U.S. Steel’s $1.5 billion steel mill in Osceola, La., and Intel’s $550 million renovation of the Rio Rancho, N.M., semiconductor facility.

  • Residential building starts fell 3 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $429 billion. Single family starts lost 4 percent, but multifamily starts increased 2 percent.

    For the 12 months ending February 2022, residential starts improved 19 percent from the 12 months ending February 2021. Single family starts were 14 percent higher, while multifamily starts were 31 percent stronger on a 12-month rolling sum basis.

The largest multifamily structures to break ground in February were the $400 million 400 Central condos in St. Petersburg, Fla., the $220 million Journal Squared apartments in Jersey City, N.J., and the $147 million Miami World Tower building in Miami.

Regionally, total construction starts in February rose in the Midwest, South Atlantic and West regions, but fell in the Northeast and South Central.

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