Quarry Equipment Marketplace

FEB 2018

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February 2018 QEM – Quarry Equipment Marketplace Page 21 Page 21 QEM – Quarry Equipment Marketplace February 2018 Regards, Mark Kuhar, Editor Rock Products Magazine Mining Media International multifamily portion of a $275 million mixed-use building in San Diego, and a $123 million apartment building in Minneapolis. Nonbuilding Construction Nonbuilding construction in December was $184.9 billion (annual rate), rebounding 43 percent after a 31 percent plunge in November. The public works categories as a group climbed 37 percent, with increases reported for most of the project types. Highway and bridge construction soared 66 percent in December, with the boost coming from the $2.3 billion I-66 Corridor Improvements Project in northern Virginia, as well as the $547 million Southern Gateway highway upgrade project in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. The river/harbor development category jumped 155 percent in December, lifted by the start of a $278 million channel maintenance and dredging project in Charleston, S.C. Sizeable gains were also reported for sewer construction, up 35 percent; and water supply construction, up 25 percent; with the latter aided by the December start of a $233 million water purification plant expansion in Houston. Miscellaneous public works was the one public works category to retreat in December, sliding 11 percent from November, which included the $2.0 billion Purple Line mass transit project in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Despite the decline, the miscellaneous public works category in December did include the start of the $1.0 billion EPIC oil pipeline and storage facility project in Texas, with the pipeline running from the Permian Basin shale field to the Gulf of Mexico. The electric utility/gas plant category jumped 93 percent in December, reflecting the start of a $992 million transmission line project in California, plus the start of a $750 million power plant in North Carolina and a $229 million power plant in Massachusetts. New Construction Starts for 2017 For all of 2017, total construction starts grew 3 percent to $745.9 billion, which followed the 6 percent increase reported for 2016. The full-year 2017 gain was dampened by a 35 percent downturn for the electric utility/gas plant category. If electric utilities and gas plants are excluded, total construction starts for 2017 would be 5 percent higher than the corresponding amount for 2016. The 3 percent increase for total construction starts at the national level in 2017 was the result of mixed behavior by geography. The Northeast climbed 17 percent, aided by strong gains for its institutional building sector and natural gas pipelines, while more moderate total construction growth was reported for the South Atlantic, up 6 percent; and the West, up 3 percent. Total construction declines in 2017 were reported for the South Central, down 3 percent; and the Midwest, down 8 percent. Highway and bridge construction starts grew 7 percent in 2017, strengthening after a 9 percent decline in 2016. The top five states in 2017 ranked by the dollar amount of new highway and bridge construction starts, with their percent change from the previous year, were – Texas, down 20 percent; California, up 9 percent; Virginia, up 180 percent; Florida, up 23 percent; and Pennsylvania, up 32 percent. "On a quarterly basis, growth in 2017 was reported during the first and third quarters, while activity retreated during the second and fourth quarters, continuing the up-and-down pattern around an upward trend that was present during 2016," stated Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. "On the positive side for 2017, institutional building assumed a leading role in keeping the nonresidential building expansion going, reflecting elevated activity for transportation terminal starts and further improvement by educational facilities. Manufacturing plant construction starts strengthened, ending a two-year decline, and commercial building was able to stay close to its heightened 2016 amount. Residential building in 2017 showed more growth for single family housing, offsetting a downturn for multifamily housing. And, public works construction in 2017 was able to strengthen, helped by the start of several very large pipeline projects and a moderate gain for highway and bridge construction." "The construction industry over the past two years has made the transition to a more mature stage of expansion, characterized by slower rates of growth for total construction compared to the 11 percent to 13 percent yearly gains during the 2012-2015 period," Murray indicated. "For 2018, the construction expansion is anticipated to continue at a modest pace. The tax reform package is expected to provide a near term lift to overall economic growth, and the likely beneficiaries would be commercial building and multifamily housing. Funding support for institutional building will come from the state and local bond measures passed in recent years. Passage of a new infrastructure program at the federal level could be a plus for public works, although the impact at the construction site is likely to be felt more in 2019 than in 2018, as the program would feature incentives to boost funding from state, local, and private sources."

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