Construction Industry Overall
Dodge Data and Analytics reported total construction starts were down 3% in January 2017, when compared to January 2016. The company’s Momentum Index was up for five consecutive months as of February’s reading, but most of the gain was in the institutional sector. Commercial planning dropped, but by less than a percent. Most construction forecasts still call for industry growth in 2017, but forward momentum isn’t all clear sailing.
Mortenson, a construction and development services company, reported that construction costs were trending upward in 2017. It predicted nonresidential construction costs across six markets would rise between 3% and 4.5%. And, the creditworthiness of firms has shown some erosion as the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association reported increased delinquencies and charge-offs in December and January. Architectural billings have also retreated––there’s volatility in some markets, large projects are skewing the data analysis, and there’s continuing political uncertainty.