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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Activity Inched Up During June
by Tom Moeller August 02, 2010

Construction activity just can't develop forward momentum. Overall, the value of construction-put-in-place inched up just 0.1% during June following a 1.0% May decline that was deeper than initially reported. The June slip was in line with Consensus expectations for a 0.5% shortfall. Monthly declines in private construction again were across-the-board but the annual rates of decline have slowed substantially since the recession's end. Nevertheless, the level of overall June activity remained nearly one-third below the 2006 peak.

Residential building activity fell another 0.8% during June led by a 1.0% decline (+15.8% y/y) in spending on improvements. Single-family construction activity also fell 0.7% (25.6% y/y) after twelve consecutive monthly increases. Activity remained one-third above last year's low but building remained off three-quarters from the 2006 high. Multi-family building edged up 0.3% (-51.5% y/y) following severe monthly declines extending back to 2008.

Nonresidential building activity slipped a moderated 0.5% m/m. Since the 2008 peak, activity has fallen by one-third. Spending on multi-retail commercial structures fell 2.8% (-29.2% y/y) and office building fell 1.1% (-38.5% y/y). Health-care building ticked 0.5% higher (-15.0% y/y) but spending on educational facilities fell 1.5% (-23.4% y/y). Spending in the public sector rose 1.5% led by a 5.4% gain in spending on health care (-0.3% y/y). Spending on highways & streets ticked up 0.1% (1.7% y/y).

The construction put-in-place figures are available in Haver's USECON database.

Challenges for the Economy and State Governments is the title of today's speech by Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and it is available here.

Construction Put In Place (%) June May April Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Total 0.1 -1.0 2.3 -7.9 -14.9 -7.5 -1.4
Private -0.6 -1.4 2.7 -10.0 -21.9 -12.2 -5.5
  Residential -0.8 -1.5 6.0 11.8 -29.9 -29.0 -19.7
  Nonresidential -0.5 -1.3 -0.3 -24.1 -15.0 10.5 23.9
Public 1.5 -0.3 1.7 -4.1 2.2 6.6 13.1
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