Volume 43, Issue 8 - August 2008
2008 Construction Starts
McGraw-Hill Construction has released its annual Construction Outlook Midyear Update. The major findings of the forecast, authored by Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction, include:
• New construction starts for 2008 are estimated at $558.5 billion, down 11 percent from 2007.
• Commercial building witnessed further expansion in 2006 and 2007, which carried over into the first quarter of 2008. However, a slower economy and tighter lending conditions are causing projects to be deferred, and the loss of momentum will take firmer hold as the year proceeds. For 2008, commercial building will retreat 8 percent in dollar volume and 16 percent in square feet. Stores and warehouses are the most vulnerable to decline in the near term, while lesser reductions are anticipated for hotels and office buildings.
• Institutional building in 2008 continues to see a strong amount of educational structures reach groundbreaking, helped by expansions for colleges and universities. The 2008 forecast for institutional building calls for a 2-percent gain in dollar volume, although square footage will settle back 3 percent.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases May Import-Export Price Index The U.S. Import Price Index rose 2.3 percent in May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported, following advances of 2.4 percent in April and 3.0 percent in March. Rising prices for both petroleum and nonpetroleum imports factored into the increases. The price index for overall exports advanced 0.3 percent in May after rising 0.5 percent the previous month.