Residential Construction Remains Strong, but Construction Starts Dive

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Robison Wells
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In a report from Dodge Analytics, August numbers for construction were looking very good. The bad news is on the horizon. Construction starts in September, wiped out all of the progress that had been made by the strong summer, dropping a whopping 18%. Non-residential starts fell 24% while residential dropped 21%. The remaining discrepancy is made up through public works and industrial, which remain strong.

Overall, construction starts were down 14% from this same time in 2019.

September also saw the most significant increase in new applications for unemployment, jumping from 787,000 to 842,000. However, fewer than 10% of construction companies reported having to lay off workers despite the drop in starts.

52% of contractors said they were optimistic about new business in the coming year, citing increased materials costs as the biggest concern for the immediate future. The National Association of Home Builders put their builder confidence index at 85 for October.

The Portland Cement Association made its fall forecast for consumption and claims that cement consumption will drop 1.5% in the remaining months of 2020 and an additional 1% in 2021.

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