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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Down in September
by Tom Moeller November 1, 2004

The total value of construction put in place dipped slightly in September as residential building fell for the first month since February 2003. The Consensus expectation for a 0.4% gain.

As hurricanes hit Florida, private residential building activity fell 0.2%. New single family building slid 0.8% (+17.3% y/y) after a 2.3% spurt in August.

Nonresidential building rose 0.2% (+5.7% y/y) as construction activity on shopping malls ballooned 30.7% (6.4% y/y).

Public construction rose 0.3% though spending on highways & streets, nearly one third of the value of public construction spending, fell for the fifth consecutive month (-1.3% 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 Sept Aug Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Total -0.0% 0.9% 8.9% 5.1% 1.5% 3.5%
Private -0.1% 1.5% 10.9% 6.0% -0.2% 1.4%
  Residential -0.2% 1.8% 13.1% 13.1% 8.4% 3.3%
  Nonresidential 0.2% 0.7% 5.7% -7.1% -12.8% -1.3%
Public 0.3% -1.0% 3.0% 2.6% 7.0% 10.7%
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