Construction starts dropped 2% across South Florida during 2019, led by a dip in the residential section, according to Dodge Data & Analytics.

There were $12.59 billion worth of construction starts in the tri-county region last year, down slightly from $12.9 billion in 2018. However, demand for construction jobs has remained strong because there’s a shortage of experienced workers.

The drop in construction starts still means less capital spending by developers, which trickles down to suppliers and service providers.

Residential construction in South Florida dropped 5% to $6.54 million. Few condos broke ground here in 2019 as developer waited for the supply of recently completed units to be sold. Sales of condos to foreign nationals have been slow for several deals due to the strong valuation of the U.S. dollar.

Non-residential construction, including offices, retail, hotels, warehouses, health care, and education, increased 1% to $6.04 billion. South Florida has seen robust industrial construction to support e-commerce and distribution companies growing in the region. Office construction is the highest in a decade thanks to a steadily falling vacancy rate and the demand for new state-of-the-art buildings.

Unlike much of the country, South Florida has a fairly low retail vacancy rate and a solid pipeline of retail construction.

Several hotels are being developed in spite of a declining occupancy rate across South Florida has.