Since then several leading national indices have declined, including the Residential and Non-residential Construction Expenditures.
In January the Fed reduced federal fund rates for the most dramatic back-to-back cuts in nearly a decade. According to McGraw-Hill economist David Wyss, the actions may not have a major impact on construction projections for 2001, as some decline in interest rates was already anticipated in published forecasts.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is predicting another 5% decline in housing starts in '01 following a comparable decline in 2000.
As a consequence, the current computer generated sales forecast projects hvacr wholesale sales (in dollars) could be down as much as 5.5% at median in 2001. Meanwhile, contracting for new construction in January advanced 5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $480.2 billion, according to the F.W. Dodge Division of the McGraw-Hill Companies. Healthy gains were reported for nonresidential building and nonbuilding construction (public works and utilities), while residential building witnessed slight growth.
"Still, January's report," according to McGraw-Hill, "is consistent with the sense that total construction activity in 2001 will be able to avoid a sharp downturn, with activity instead remaining close to the elevated amount achieved last year."
Nonresidential building in January jumped 10% to $183.2 billion, with school construction up 13% and health care facilities up 17%. Church construction was up 11%, and amusement related projects were up 32%. Public buildings, mainly courthouses and jails, were up 49%.