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New Construction Starts Improve 5 Percent

Highway Construction Jumps 19 Percent for December; Large Bridge Project Starts.

New construction starts in December grew 5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $554.5 billion, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. Although both nonresidential building and housing settled back during the final month of 2013, the nonbuilding construction sector (public works and electric utilities) finished the year on a strong note.

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Nonresidential Building

Nonresidential building in October climbed 20 percent to $216.9 billion (annual rate). Manufacturing plant construction soared 147 percent, led by the start of these three projects – a $1.7 billion fertilizer plant in Iowa, a $1.7 billion natural gas processing plant in West Virginia, and a $1.5 billion gasification plant in Louisiana that will produce industrial liquid and gas products from petroleum coke.

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Residential Building

Residential building, at $209.5 billion (annual rate), increased 3 percent in October. Single-family housing grew 2 percent, rebounding after slipping 2 percent in September. The dollar amount for single family housing in October was up 12 percent from the start of the year, as this category returned to the gradual yet steady upward trend that’s been present for most of 2013.

Read more: Residential Building