The rate of overall construction rose 2.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.21 million from 1.19 million in June, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was the highest level since February. Most of the gain came from an 8.3 percent acceleration in the construction of multi-family buildings. Construction of single-family houses edged up just 0.3 percent.
Cambodia's construction industry is booming, and high-rises are being built across the capital of Phnom Penh. With the city's population doubling over the past four years, it has begun its transformation into a sprawling metropolis. The industry employs a large number of migrant workers who flock to the capital in search of work. Around a third of these workers are women, and photographer Charles Fox's latest project documents them on the building sites. Some of the women are just starting out, others hone skills learnt in the provinces, while others are from the masses of workers who returned from Thailand in 2014 after a crackdown on illegal migrant workers.
To speed hotel construction, Marriott International is increasingly using prefabricated rooms that can be stacked like shoe boxes with a crane. The Maryland-based hotel company -- the world's largest lodging business -- plans to sign deals for 50 hotel construction projects in 2017 that will use prefabricated rooms, including a hotel scheduled to begin construction this year in Hawthorne. Modular construction shortens building time and reduces the need for skilled labor at the construction site. The prefabricated rooms are built in a factory, painted and furnished before they are put on a truck and shipped to the construction site. The practice has become popular in Europe and Asia.
U.S. construction spending fell in February by the largest amount in three months. Weakness in nonresidential construction and government offset the strongest month for home construction in more than eight years. Construction spending fell 0.5 percent in February following a 2.1 percent January gain, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Spending declines on construction of factories, communication facilities and other nonresidential activities fell by 1.3 percent in February. Sending on government projects was down 1.7 percent.
Perhaps one of the bigger trends for residential construction that is beginning to generate more interest lately is prefab construction. This form of construction initially emerged in the mid-1900s, with the U.K., France, and Russia being some of the first to jump into a large-scale system. Still, while many manufacturing sectors have moved from industry 3.0 to industry 4.0, construction is only starting to make the transition. Some countries are making the shift faster than others. For instance, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development in China released the Outline of Modern Development of Building and Construction Industry in 2015.