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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 »

States and Provinces Ranked by Year-to-date Non-residential Building Starts

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

Article source: CMDGroup

The table accompanying this Economy at a Glance tries something new. It not only ranks U.S. states by year-to-date dollar volumes of non-residential building construction starts, and by year-over-year percentage changes, but adds Canadian provinces to the mix as well.

While the overall population of the United States is much larger than for Canada, 322 million compared with 36 million, the geographic size of most Canadian provinces is larger than for all but a few American states.

Furthermore, the Canadian construction scene is more dominated by mega-sized natural-resource projects − in oil and natural gas, metals and minerals and power generation – although this effect becomes more pronounced in heavy engineering/civil construction work.

In complementary fashion, that will be the subject of the next EAAG.

There are two details to note: (1) the four provinces on Canada’s eastern coast have been combined in one Atlanta Region; and (2) the dollar volumes are in each nation’s domestic currency. In other words, no adjustment has been made for the fact the Canadian dollar is currently valued at only 73 cents U.S.

The four states at the top of the dollar-volume column – Texas ($23.5 billion USD), California ($17.4 billion), New York ($11.1 billion) and Florida ($8.5 billion) − are those with the largest population bases.

Positions six through nine − Pennsylvania ($6.1 billion), Illinois ($5.9 billion) and Ohio ($5.6 billion) − are also occupied by states with large numbers of residents. Hence, one would expect they would be among the leaders in non-residential building construction starts.

Louisiana ($7.3 billion), however, has managed to capture attention by asserting a claim on fifth spot. Located along the Gulf Coast, and home to many downstream petrochemical plants that are benefitting from currently low upstream energy prices, the state’s non-residential building construction sector appears to be riding a ripple effect.

Ontario ($5.0 billion CAD) leads Canadian provinces in the dollar-volume listing, although it is only in the middle of the 58-jurisdiction pack in terms of year-over-year percentage change, at -2.3%.

In the far-right two columns of the table, Saskatchewan (+143%) is the leader, followed by Louisiana (+114%), South Dakota (+74%), Nevada (+61%) and Alberta (+56%).

On a year-over-year percentage-change basis, two of the four most-populous U.S. states are on the plus side – Texas (+46%) and Florida (+23%) – while the other two have descended into the negative – California (-12%) and New York (-26%).

By the way, the District of Columbia does not fare particularly well in these rankings: 50th in dollar-volume terms and 58th, or last, with respect to percentage change.  


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