Local construction contracts slump in Jan.
Report shows 65% drop, 6th straight monthly decrease BY TIM MEKEEL, Business Editor
Construction contracts in Lancaster County fell 65 percent in January, a new report shows, the sixth straight monthly decrease.
Contracts signed for future building construction here totaled $6.6 million, down from $19.2 million in January 2012.
The report released Tuesday by McGraw-Hill Construction shows that both residential and nonresidential sectors slumped severely.
Residential contracts (to construct homes and apartments) slid 63 percent to $6.4 million from $17.4 million a year earlier.
Nonresidential contracts (for offices, churches, schools, stores, hotels, factories, etc.) plunged 90 percent to $175,000 from $1.7 million.
The new report shows that the construction sector -- a critical part of the economy -- remains mired in a prolonged and deep downturn.
Since mid-2010, a period of 32 months, construction contracts have increased only six times.
And in many of those months, the volume of contracts was not only down, but was down sharply from an already depressed level.
For instance, the new January figure is off substantially from a weak January 2012.
In robust times , January saw double or even triple the volume posted in January 2012.
January 2007 had $40.9 million in construction contracts here, according to newspaper files. January 2006 had $49.4 million. January 2003 had $60 million.