Future construction deals show strength in March

The value of future construction contracts reported in New Hampshire rose dramatically in two of three sectors in March, but the third — residential construction — remains stubbornly sluggish.According to figures from industry information service McGraw-Hill Construction, there was a more than fivefold annual jump in the value of future nonresidential construction contracts — an increase from $20.6 million in March 2010 to $101.4 million in March 2011. This was the third consecutive strong jump in the value of nonresidential contracts this year, coming on the heels of an almost 180 percent increase in February and an 86 percent year-over-year jump in January.Also showing strength in March was the nonbuilding sector, which covers roads, bridges and similar projects. McGraw-Hill reported a 66 percent increase in the value of future contracts, rising to $50.5 million in March from March $30.38 million in March 2010.As for residential construction, the numbers remain disappointing. The value of residential contracts fell by 17 percent from $50.9 million in March 2010 to $42.1 million in March 2011.All told, the value of all future construction contracts through March stands at $375.8 million, some 65 percent more than the $227.8 million reported a year before. — JEFF FEINGOLD/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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