NEW YORK, Nov. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- New construction starts in October decreased 4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $678.9 billion, settling back from the elevated amount that was reported in September, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. Nonresidential building retreated from its brisk September pace, which was this sector's strongest volume so far in 2016. October's level for nonresidential building was still healthy compared to what's been reported for much of 2016 - while down 12% from its average for August and September, it remained 15% above its lackluster average for this year's first seven months. Residential building in October showed moderate growth, with contributions from both single family and multifamily housing. Nonbuilding construction in October edged up slightly, as an increase for public works offset diminished activity for electric utilities/gas plants. The public works sector in October benefitted from the start of the $1.7 billion Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project in San Diego CA and the $850 million State Highway 288 Tollway project in the Houston TX area. For the first ten months of 2016, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $572.0 billion, down a slight 1% from the same period a year ago. If the volatile manufacturing plant and electric utility/gas plant categories are excluded, total construction starts during this year's January-October period would be up 3%.
October's data produced a reading of 144 for the Dodge Index (2000=100), compared to 149 in September and 152 in August. The quarterly averages for the Dodge Index in 2016 show the first quarter at 149, the second quarter at 138, and the third quarter at 142, with the average over the first nine months of the year coming in at 143. October's pace for total construction starts, while down from August and September, is still up from the third quarter.