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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Increase Firm 
by Tom Moeller  February 1, 2006

The value of construction put in place increased a firm 1.0% in December, double the upwardly revised November rise. Consensus expectations had been for a 0.2% gain.

Residential building rose a sharp 1.0% following little change in November. The value of improvements (-7.7% y/y) recovered most of the prior month's decline with a 3.2% increase and new multi-family residential (19.9% y/y) rose a strong 1.0%. New single family building added 0.2% (14.2% y/y) to several months of strong increase.

Nonresidential building rose strongly for the second consecutive month led by a 2.5% gain in office construction (13.9% y/y), a 2.6% rise in commercial (12.7% y/y) and a 1.9% increase in lodging (-0.5% y/y).

Public construction spending rose 0.7% following a revised 1.2% increase during November as construction activity on highways & streets, nearly one third of the value of public construction spending, dipped slightly m/m (9.1% 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 Dec Nov Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total 1.0% 0.5% 8.1% 9.1% 10.9% 5.4%
Private 1.1% 0.3% 7.7% 9.5% 13.6% 6.3%
  Residential 1.0% 0.0% 8.6% 11.4% 18.2% 12.9%
  Nonresidential 1.3% 1.1% 5.5% 5.2% 3.9% -5.4%
Public 0.7% 1.2% 9.7% 7.7% 2.5% 2.7%
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