Industrial production increased during each of the first five months of this year. But despite this evidence of resurgence in the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy, demand for production and warehouse space continued to wane during the early months of 2002. The national availability rate for industrial space increased from 10.1% during the final quarter of 2001 to 10.8% in the first quarter of 2002. The national industrial vacancy rate has now risen for five consecutive quarters.
The first-quarter 2002 industrial vacancy rate was 2.7% higher than that recorded during the same period of 2001, according to a survey by commercial brokerage and research firm CB Richard Ellis, Los Angeles, that measures the supply of available space in manufacturing plants and warehouse buildings of 100,000 sq. ft. or larger. Vacancy rates for industrial space during the early months of 2002 ranged from lows of 2.6% in Albuquerque, N.M, to 5% on Long Island, N.Y., and just below 7% in Kansas City, Mo., and San Diego. Jacksonville, Fla., recorded the highest vacancy rate at 24.3%.
Between the fourth quarter of 2001 and the first quarter of this year, industrial vacancy rates rose most sharply in the Westchester/Mid-Hudson, N.Y., and Palm Beach, Fla., markets. Over-the-year increases in vacancies were sharpest in Jacksonville, Fla. (8.7%); Charlotte, N.C. (7%); and Atlanta (6.4%). Only four of the 42 areas surveyed by Ellis recorded lower vacancy rates during the first quarter of 2002 than in the first quarter of last year: Baltimore (-3.1%); Long Island, N.Y. (-1.8%); Stamford, Conn. (-1.0%); and Tampa, Fla., (-0.2%).