Nonresidential Sector Carries Market

ARLINGTON, Va. - According to the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), combined U.S. factory shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps for July totaled 637,606. This number, down 3 percent from July 2006 shipments, adds to the year-to-date combined total of 4.2 million, down 11 percent from 2006. Heat pump shipments were down 7 percent, totaling 169,417 as compared to July 2006. These shipments year-to-date were also down 11 percent, totaling approximately 1.2 million.

In spite of struggling residential construction and credit markets, the nonresidential construction market continued to show no ill effect.

“Nonresidential construction shrugged off the turmoil in homebuilding and the credit markets in July to post another solid gain,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “Although total construction spending slipped 0.4 percent in July, seasonally adjusted, and residential fell 1.4 percent, nonresidential spending climbed 0.6 percent, the 10th consecutive monthly gain.”

According to Simonson, private nonresidential construction, “the type that might seem most vulnerable to a credit pullback, showed no sign of contagion.” It rose 0.4 percent in July and 17 percent year-to-date.

“The three most speculative components - commercial, office, and lodging - all advanced. Commercial construction was up 0.6 percent for the month and 15 percent year-to-date,” noted Simonson. “The two biggest commercial subcomponents - multi-retail (big box and other general merchandise stores, shopping centers, and malls) and warehouses - both leaped 4 percent in July and 28 percent year-to-date. Private office construction climbed 0.6 percent and 22 percent, and lodging shot up 0.8 percent and 60 percent.”

Publication date: 09/17/2007

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