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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Again Led Higher By Residential Building 
by Tom Moeller June 1, 2005

The total value of construction put in place rose another 0.5% in April and about matched Consensus expectations for a 0.7% gain.

Private residential building activity rose 0.6% for the second month but the value of new single family building declined 0.1% (+11.1% y/y), the first sequential decline since September. Building on new multi-family units jumped 1.4% (16.5% y/y).

Nonresidential building surged 1.3% led higher by a 1.8% (3.0% y/y) advance in office building. Manufacturing building also rose a strong 1.3% (38.7% y/y) but spending on power facilities fell 3.5% (-5.3% y/y).

Public construction fell as spending on highways & streets, nearly one third of the value of public construction spending, dropped for the second consecutive month (-3.7% 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 April March Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total 0.5% 0.6% 8.2% 8.9% 5.1% 1.5%
Private 0.8% 0.7% 10.9% 10.7% 6.0% -0.2%
  Residential 0.6% 0.6% 13.3% 13.9% 13.1% 8.4%
  Nonresidential 1.3% 1.0% 5.3% 3.7% -7.1% -12.8%
Public -0.4% 0.4% -0.4% 3.3% 2.6% 7.0%
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