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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Slipped
by Tom Moeller June 1, 2006

The value of construction put in place slipped 0.1% in April after a downwardly revised 0.9% March increase. Consensus expectations had been for no change.

Residential building reversed all of a downwardly revised 1.0% March gain. New single family building slumped 1.6% (11.5% y/y), the first monthly decline in over a year, and the value of spending on improvements fell 0.5% (-6.9% y/y).

Nonresidential building improved 2.5% following an upwardly revised 0.6% March increase as office construction surged 3.0% (13.8% y/y) and commercial building rose 1.8% (6.5% y/y). Multi-retail building jumped 2.0% (33.2% y/y) led by a 6.0% (52.7% y/y) ramp-up in the value of building shopping malls.

Public construction spending slipped 0.2% though construction activity on highways & streets, nearly one third of the value of public construction spending, rose 0.4% (10.7% 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 2005 2004 2003
Total -0.1% 0.9% 8.5% 9.2% 10.9% 5.4%
Private -0.1% 0.9% 8.6% 9.7% 13.6% 6.3%
  Residential -1.1% 1.0% 7.1% 11.5% 18.2% 12.9%
  Nonresidential 2.5% 0.6% 12.2% 5.4% 3.9% -5.4%
Public -0.2% 0.8% 8.2% 7.6% 2.5% 2.7%
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