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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Gain Eased, Single Family Still Strong 
by Tom Moeller  January 3, 2006

The value of construction put in place rose a modest 0.2% in November following a 0.8% October increase and fell far short of Consensus expectations for a 0.7% rise.

Residential building dropped modestly for the first decline since June. The decline reflected a 4.1% plunge in the value of improvements (-5.7% y/y) and a 0.6% fall in new multi-family residential (+20.5% y/y). New single family building posted a strong 1.5% gain (14.8% y/y) which was on a par with increases during the prior ten months.

Nonresidential building recovered all of the previous month's 0.6% drop helped by a 2.4% gain in office construction (7.4% y/y) and a 2.7% rise in commercial (10.15 y/y).

Public construction spending rose 0.3% following a revised 1.7% increase during October. Construction activity on highways & streets, nearly one third of the value of public construction spending, rose 1.6% (8.1% 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 2004 2003 2002
Total 0.2% 0.8% 7.8% 10.9% 5.4% 1.0%
Private 0.2% 0.5% 7.8% 13.6% 6.3% -0.4%
  Residential -0.0% 0.9% 9.7% 18.2% 12.9% 8.5%
  Nonresidential 0.6% -0.6% 3.2% 3.9% -5.4% -13.0%
Public 0.3% 1.7% 7.8% 2.5% 2.7% 5.7%
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