Volume 33, Number 5, May 1998


Every region posted solid numbers in April. The southeast and northeast posted the best numbers with ten- and 15- percent growth respectively. All of the other regions between three and five percent.

The projected rates for the glass industry over the next 30 days are solid, with the exception of the Rocky Mountain region. The Midwest looks to be the strongest region next month with growth of more than 20 percent expected, while the Northeast expects growth of more than ten percent. The Lower Plains, West Coast and the Southeast are expected to post growth of five percent or more.

The number of housing units started rose in February for the third straight month. February posted 1,636,000 units started, according to the Commerce Department. The increase in units started from January to February was the highest since the period from August to September 1997.

Housing Unit Starts

Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate Thousands of Units

March 1,4391,477
April 1,5111,480
May 1,4781,404
June 1,4901,502
July 1,4701,461
August 1,5331,383
September 1,4611,501
October 1,3851,529
November 1,4861,523
December 1,3531,540
January 1,3941,543
February 1,5471,636

Average relative standard error 3%(p=preliminary)
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce

Despite a 12-percent jump in nonresidential building, contracts were down one percent overall in February, according to the F.W. Dodge Division of the McGraw-Hill Companies. The drop is attributable to a slight drop in residential construction and 21-percent decrease in nonbuilding construction.

Monthly Contracts

Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rates, In Millions

Nonresidential Building$113,035$126,347+12
Residential Building$158,381$156,702-1
Nonresidential Construction$69,745$54,903-21
Total Construction$341,161$337,952-1
source:F.W. Dodge Division, The Mc-Graw-Hill Companies

According to the F.W. Dodge Division of the McGraw-Hill Companies, total construction for the first two months of 1998 was off four percent for the same time frame in 1997. Nonbuilidng construction and nonresidential building have both been off during the first two months of 1998, while residential building has posted a three-percent increase.

Year-To-Date Contracts

Unadjusted Totals, In Millions

2 Months,2 Months,Percent
1997 1998 Change
Nonresidential Building $17,005 $15,734 -7
Residential Building $19,614 $20,299 +3
Nonbuilding Construction $9,246 $7,989 -14
Total Construction $44,022 $45,865 -4
source:F.W. Dodge Division, The Mc-Graw-Hill Companies

Copyright 1998 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.