Industrial project activity has increased by almost a third in North America for the first quarter of 2007 when compared to 2006, according to Industrial Info’s North American Project Spending Index.

Industrial project activity has increased by almost a third in North America for the first quarter of 2007 when compared to 2006, according to Industrial Info’s ( www.industrialinfo.com) North American Project Spending Index, which compares the number and magnitude of active industrial projects in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The Project Spending Index is a monthly indicator, comparing current year to previous year total investment value based on actual project construction starts. The index takes into consideration project spending activity in 12 vertical industries.

As of this writing, Industrial Info was tracking $308 billion in North American industrial project spending across all 12 industries. For the March 2007 update, project spending is up 32.33% when compared to March 2006. The industries with the largest percentage of growth when compared to last year at this time are Alternative Fuels (1,145%), Oil & Gas Transmission (212%), and Petroleum Refining (120%). Industries showing a drop in percentage growth include Oil & Gas Production (-31%) and Chemical Processing (-22%).

Other notable hotspots:

  • The New England region is poised to begin $2.4 billion worth of industrial capital and MRO projects within the second quarter. These span 64 projects representing an average total investment value (TIV) of $37.5 million to begin construction through the end of June. Massachusetts claims both the majority of those projects, 28, as well as the majority of spending, $1.7 billion, for the region.

  • The Great Lakes region has more than 256 active industrial projects under construction, totaling $22 billion in TIV. The power industry has more than 30% of the project spending with 40 projects totaling $8.4 billion. This includes the massive $2.1 billion Elm Road generating station under construction in Oak Creek, WI. Indiana has the most projects currently under construction with 60.

  • The Northeast region is forecast for a respectable $9.9 billion spread over the quarter’s 198 individual projects averaging TIV $50 million. New York’s activity accounts for a whopping $6.4 billion, or 64% of the total. With 76 projects, the average TIV per project in the state translates to $84.2 million.

  • The Mid-Atlantic region has $6.125 billion in spending scheduled to begin construction in the second quarter of 2007. This is more than a 100% increase from the same period last year. The power industry leads spending with 31 projects totaling $2.8 billion. Second is industrial manufacturing with nearly $1.2 billion to be invested on 79 projects.