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STAFDA member distributors posted a 6.2 percent sales gain year-over-year in the Q2 2017 Trend Report, according to The Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association, Elm Grove, WI.
According to Dodge Data & Analytics Report, for the first half of 2017, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $442.7 billion, down 4 percent from the same period a year ago. Dodge again points the finger at manufacturing plant and electric utility/gas plant categories for pulling the percentage down. If those two sectors were excluded, total construction starts for the first half of 2017 would be up 1 percent relative to last year.
"Since last year, total construction starts have shown an up-and-down pattern on a quarterly basis, including a 6 percent decline in Q4 2016 followed by a 7 percent increase in Q1 2017, and now a 10 percent decline in Q2," said Dodge chief economist Robert Murray. "The 11-12 percent yearly increases for total construction starts from 2012-2015 were followed by a 4 percent gain in 2016. Several factors suggest 2017 will see modest growth. Attributing factors include low commercial vacancy rates, as well as more construction funding coming from state and local bond measures passed in recent years. Any impact from a new federal infrastructure program — should one get passed this year — would benefit construction in 2018-2019."
The 4 percent decline in total construction for the first half of 2017 is the result of reduced activity for nonbuilding construction, residential building being flat and nonresidential building seeing moderate growth. Nonbuilding construction year-to-date fell 22 percent, with electric utilities/gas plants down 60 percent and public works off 4 percent. The "no change" for residential building YTD was the result of an 8 percent increase in single family housing offsetting an 18 percent slide in multi-family housing. Nonresidential construction advanced 6 percent YTD with institutional building up 11 percent while commercial held steady combined with a 13 percent increase for manufacturing building, reversing a sharp decrease from 2015-2016.
By geography, total construction starts for the first six months of 2017 saw this pattern: South Atlantic +11 percent; West unchanged; Northeast -5 percent; South Central -13 percent; and Midwest -16 percent.