Construction Boom in 2018?
Construction starts were up 1% in the first half of 2018 according to ENR. Transportation fed a global market analysis while water and sewer was only /20th of the transportation amount and barely registering 1.75% of the total worldwide among all construction. The US was only 12 percent of the worldwide total. The Pacific, northwest, southeast and northeast were down, while the southwest, mid Atlantic, mountain and New England states were up. Public works capital (including water/sewer) was down 23% over 2017. In several states, construction costs has declined (Minnesota 10.1%). Materials costs were up a modest 0.2%, while the overall construction index was up 2.6%. Housing starts were have declined significantly over the past year. What does all this mean? It means that rebuilding water and sewer infrastructure is still not keeping pace, and a slowing construction market may portend slower growth and lesser rate bases in the near future. That should be a wakeup call – something we should watch going forward.