Throughout the long-term history of the starts, there has been a typical drop – due to weather-related factors − of -2.5% between January and February. Harsh conditions in winter can put a halt to field work. February, however, is the last in a string of months during which starts tend to decline period-to-period on account of seasonality. From March through July, the tendency is for starts to pick up from one month to the next.
Starts in February 2017 versus what was an exceptionally strong February 2016 were -9.2%. Year-to-date starts in 2017 compared with January-to-February of last year were -7.5%.
The starts figures throughout this report are not seasonally adjusted (NSA). Nor are they altered for inflation. They are expressed in what are termed ‘current’ as opposed to ‘constant’ dollars.
‘Nonresidential building’ plus ‘engineering/civil’ work accounts for a considerably larger share of total construction than residential activity. The former’s combined proportion of total put-in-place construction in the Census Bureau’s January report was 60%; the latter’s was 40%.