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Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect
Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect
Alex Carrick is Chief Economist for ConstructConnect. He is a frequent contributor to the Daily Commercial News and the Journal of Commerce. He has delivered presentations throughout North America on the Canadian, United States and world construction outlooks. A trusted and often-quoted source for … More »

State and Province Rankings by Year-to-date Engineering/Civil Starts

December 21st, 2015 by Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect

Article source: CMDGroup

In the previous Economy at a Glance, there was an examination of states and provinces according to their January-to-November 2015 dollar volumes and year-to-date percentage changes of non-residential building construction starts.

The data source is CMD’s web-accessible ‘Insight’ research material.

This time, we’ll look at starts that are heavy engineering/civil in nature. Again, Canadian provinces will be mixed in with U.S. states.

Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have been condensed into an ‘Atlantic Canada’ designation.

In the engineering construction category, however, those easternmost provinces should not be lightly dismissed.

For example, on a number of occasions over the past several years, there have been large-project start-ups in Newfoundland and Labrador − in offshore oil and gas and in hydroelectric power generation and undersea cable distribution − that would have placed that province on the top rung for dollar volume at the time.

Also note that the state figures are in ‘greenbacks’ and provincial data is in ‘loonies’. The 73-cent Canadian dollar conversion has not been calculated. (Everyone believes there will be a return to parity soon anyway, right? Sadly, I see many of you shaking your heads.)

Skipping from East Coast to West Coast, the significance of a single mega-sized project initiation is readily apparent from British Columbia’s position ($12.1 billion CAD) at the pinnacle of the dollar-volume column.

In September of this year, the B.C. government issued a go-ahead for the $8.0 billion CAD ‘Site C’ hydroelectric power project on the Peace River in the northeast of the province.

That undertaking is also the explanation for the year-over-year 218% increase in B.C.’s engineering construction starts, placing it well ahead of second-place West Virginia (+95%) in the final two columns of the table.

The dramatic cutback in the capital spending plans of Canadian energy firms, as a result of crude oil’s price collapse in world commodity markets, has relegated Alberta, Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada to the last three positions in the year-over-year percentage-change section of the table.

The U.S. energy sector, which now has a much larger hydraulic fracturing component relative to the conventional wells and heavy oil extraction that characterize Canada’s same-product industry, isn’t suffering quite the same degree of spending setbacks.

Hence, Texas ($11.7 billion USD) has managed to hold onto a strong position (i.e., 2nd place) in the left-side of the table that ranks the dollar-volume of engineering construction starts so far this year.

While the admittedly small District of Columbia does trail all others in dollar volume, it can derive pleasure from its 29.9% year-over-year percentage gain and 18th-place ranking overall on the right-hand side of the table.

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Category: CMD Group

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