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Table 13 presents estimated permit-valuation data for the entire nonfarm area of the country by quarter, 1940 through 1946. This series is based on building-permit information obtained from a majority of urban and rural nonfarm areas where such permits are required. The data were then expanded to account for areas which require permits but which do not report to BLS, and for
areas where permits are not required.1
The data on "average valuation" shown in this table were derived by dividing the total valuation by the estimated number of private dwelling units started each quarter.
1 For a detailed explanation of BLS estimating technique see ch. I; a discussion of the limitations of the average valuation data is to be found in ch. IV, Part 1.
Table 13.—Local building permit valuation: Total and average estimated valuation1 of new nonfarm private dwelling units started, for the United States as a whole, by type of structure, by quarter, 1940-46
1 These data represent permit valuation rather than construction cost. Data for 1945 and 1946 not adjusted for lapsed building permits and for lag between issuance of permit and actual start of construction. These factors were not particularly significant prior to 1945.
Source: U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Total Construction Cost of Units Started
The' data in table 14 represent estimated total construction cost of all privately financed new dwelling units started in the nonfarm areas of the United States.
Since no single series is available for the period 1920-46, it was necessary to develop a time series from two different sources: For the period 1920-29,
the data are estimates of the National Bureau of Economic Research; the data for the period 1930 to date are estimates of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The two series were joined in the period 1928-31 and there is thus a slight disparity in the data for these years.
The information presented in table 14 goes a step further than the series on building-permit valuation shown in the two preceding tables.
The valuation data are adjusted to reflect a characteristic understatement of cost which BLS found in the building-permit data. This understatement, for the country as a whole, has generally amounted to about 15 percent; in very recent years it has been as high as 25 percent. Thus, in the series on construction cost of dwelling units started, allowances have been made for construction overhead and, in the case of contract builders, for builders' profits. In addition, the data for 1945 and 1946 are adjusted to reflect permits issued but not used.
Table 14.-Construction cost of new nonfarm dwelling units started: By type of financing, by year, 1920-46; by month, January 1945-December 1946
[In millions of dollars]
DOLLARS IN MILLIONS
PRIVATE NONFARM RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION
BUILDING PERMITS ISSUED, ESTIMATED CONSTRUCTION COST OF DWELLING UNITS STARTED AND VALUE OF CONSTRUCTION PUT IN PLACE
Value of Residential Contracts Awarded
As a part of its system of construction news reports, the F. W. Dodge Corp. issues regular monthly data on the value of contracts awarded for residential, nonresidential, public works, and utilities construction.
Generally speaking, the Dodge figures are considered to be more nearly comprehensive in the field of nonresidential building than in residential building, but they are valuable as a comparative series in the residential construction field. In the category of residential building, coverage of multifamily dwellings is considered to be reasonably complete for the territory reported; coverage of development projects of one- and two-family houses is also reasonably complete; principal deficiency in coverage is in one-family houses erected singly, particularly in low valuations and in small communities. The figures are tabulated from project news reports gathered daily by the corporation's field staff; they are entirely factual, the tabulations containing no estimates of projects beyond the range of the field coverage.
The Dodge statistics on residential construction are limited to projects (including alterations involving two or more trades as well as new construction) above a minimum value specified for the area and period covered. Since January 1925, the data have been based on reports from 37 Eastern States; during 1923 and 1924, they were based on 36 States; from January 1919 to December 1922, their coverage varied slightly from year to year, but for all practical purposes they may be considered to have covered approximately 27 Northern and Eastern States.
The Dodge corporation, from time to time, has established the following minimum values as a guide to its reporters for collecting statistics on the individual projects: For 1929 and prior years, $5,000; for 1930 and 1931, $2,000; for 1932, $1,000; for 1933 and 1934, $500; for 1935 through 1941, $2,000. From 1942-44, the minimum value ranged from $2,000 to $4,000, and varied from region to region and within regions. In 1945 and 1946, the minimum value was once again set at $5,000. It is believed that changes in these minimum
to March 1946, single family housing projects involving 10 or more houses in the same project were included in Dodge "Residential Buildings" figures in increment as construction work proceeded. Beginning with March 1946, entire projects of 500 houses or less were included in these statistics at the time the general contract was awarded or work was started., Projects of more than 500 houses were included in increment, i. e., 500 houses were included when the general contract was awarded and additional houses were included at a later date as work progressed beyond the 500. This change in procedure to an extent explains the rise in Dodge figures beginning in March 1946.
Figures for construction contracts awarded include new construction, additions and alterations. No maintenance work or shipbuilding is included. Force-account work is generally included, except when performed with masspurchased materials not earmarked for specific projects at time of purchase.
Table 16 presents the contract award data by years from 1919 through 1946.
Table 17 presents monthly data from 1939 through 1946 on residential construction contracts awarded, by type of ownership. This series was started by the F. W. Dodge Corp. in 1932; prior to that year no data were available on public and private construction contracts awarded.
Day labor or force-account work is work done directly by employees of an owner (public or private) generally without the assistance of a contractor.