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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Up
by Tom Moeller October 1, 2004

The total value of construction put in place rose a moderate 0.8% in August, twice the Consensus expectation for a 0.4% gain.

Higher private residential building led the gain with a 1.7% spurt. New single family building jumped 2.1% (+21.1% y/y) following two months of modest gain.

Nonresidential building rose 0.8% (+7.7% y/y) led by a 6.5% (-3.4% y/y) jump in education.

Public construction fell and spending on highways & streets, which is nearly one third of the value of public construction spending, fell sharply for the second month in three, -2.9% m/m +2.5% 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 Aug July Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Total 0.8% 1.1% 10.1% 5.1% 1.5% 3.5%
Private 1.4% 1.0% 12.4% 6.0% -0.2% 1.4%
  Residential 1.7% 0.6% 14.5% 13.1% 8.4% 3.3%
  Nonresidential 0.8% 2.2% 7.7% -7.1% -12.8% -1.3%
Public -1.0% 1.1% 3.2% 2.6% 7.0% 10.7%
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