Jim Haughey, chief economist for Reed Construction Data, writes about the January 2009 value of construction starts, excluding residential, at the Reed website here.

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Overall, the value of construction starts in January 2009 was up 5.3% over January 2008, but starts fell 23% from December, which, after accounting for the usual seasonal decline in January, Haughey estimated at about 20%.

“This is an unusually large cutback,” he writes. “The only similar drop in recent years was in September 2005 and that was reversed the following month.”

Haughey and Ken Simonson, chief economist for the AGC of America, recently hosted a webcast on the 2009 construction market outlook. Webcast 1 of 4, “Have We Hit Bottom?”, was broadcast on January 27 but you can see it here (requires registration). This webcast discusses the impact of the recession and how long it will take for the construction industry to rebound.