Dodge's monthly data showed solid growth, with total construction starts rising +6% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.3 trillion and nonresidential starts rising +40%, thanks to a large pickup in manufacturing and transportation buildings. Manufacturing starts rose +285% from July to August, fueled by two large projects — the $2.5-billion John Palmour Manufacturing Center for Silicon Carbide in Siler City, NC, and the $2-billion VinFast electric vehicle plant in New Hill, NC.
These two multi-billion-dollar projects were the latest examples of the historic surge in huge industrial projects in the auto and oil and gas industries due in part to the move toward natural gas power plants; onshoring of manufacturing facilities from overseas; increasing exports of natural gas; and construction of plants for EVs and EV batteries. Along with these massive industrial facilities, an impressive array of projects in the educational and utility segments also broke ground during this quarter.
Electrical Marketing found more than 20 billion-dollar projects that either broke ground or entered the planning stages in Q3 2023 (see chart on page 2). Josh Bone, executive director for ELECTRI International, the research arm of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), said in his presentation this week at the IDEA E-Biz Conference in Nashville, TN, that in total 300 projects valued at $1 billion or more are underway or in the planning stage, which will put additional strain on contractors to find electricians and source products in the electrical construction market.