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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Up 
by Tom Moeller  December 1, 2005

The value of construction put in place rose 0.7% in October though the September gain was revised lower to 0.2% due to a lessened increase in residential building.

Residential building in October continued at about its earlier pace and rose 0.6%. New single family building rose 0.7% (11.6% y/y) following an upwardly revised 1.7% surge. The value of residential improvements fell 0.6% (-4.5% y/y) and a previously reported moderate September decline was revised to a 2.6% collapse.

Nonresidential building activity slipped moderately for the second consecutive month thanks to lower office construction (+5.9% y/y) which had been strong.

Public construction spending also fell moderately for the second month as construction activity on highways & streets, nearly one third of the value of public construction spending slipped 0.2% (14.0% y/y) after a 2.0% September surge.

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 Oct Sept Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total 0.7% 0.2% 7.9% 10.9% 5.4% 1.0%
Private 0.3% 0.4% 6.9% 13.6% 6.3% -0.4%
  Residential 0.6% 0.7% 8.3% 18.2% 12.9% 8.5%
  Nonresidential -0.3% -0.2% 3.5% 3.9% -5.4% -13.0%
Public 1.9% -0.5% 11.7% 2.5% 2.7% 5.7%
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