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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Strong
by Tom Moeller January 5, 2004

The value of total construction put in place jumped 1.2% (7.4% y/y) in November. A 0.5% rise was expected. On average, construction spending has risen 1.2% in each of the last six months.

Private residential building activity surged 2.0%. Single family home building spurted 2.9% in November (20.0% y/y).

Commercial construction managed a 0.4% gain following two months of sharp decline (+1.4% y/y but education spending fell 0.8% (-2.1% y/y). Office construction, up 1.3%, posted the fourth strong consecutive monthly gain (-4.2% y/y).

These more detailed categories represent the Census Bureau’s reclassification of construction activity into end-use groups. Finer detail is available for many of the categories; for instance, commercial construction is shown for Automotive sales and parking facilities, drugstores, building supply stores, and both commercial warehouses and mini-storage facilities. Note that start dates vary for some seasonally adjusted line items in 2000 and 2002 and that constant-dollar data are no longer computed.

Construction Put-in-place Nov Oct Y/Y 2002 2001 2000
Total 1.2% 1.1% 7.4% 1.1% 2.7% 8.3%
Private 1.2% 1.4% 8.3% -0.2% 1.4% 8.0%
  Residential 2.0% 2.2% 14.1% 8.6% 3.3% 7.4%
  Nonresidential -2.1% 1.6% -3.6% -13.0% -1.3% 8.9%
Public 1.2% 0.8% 6.6% 5.3% 7.4% 9.5%
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