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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Firms
by Tom Moeller  February 1, 2012

The level of construction spending logged another increase. Activity during December increased 1.5% after a 0.4% November gain, initially reported as 1.2%. Consensus expectations were for a 0.7% December rise. These m/m machinations left the level of activity at its highest since April, 2010.

Private sector spending rose a sharp 2.1% led by a 3.3% rise (11.4% y/y) rise in nonresidential building. Manufacturing activity was notably strong rising 13.6% (43.4% y/y) and outlays on power facilities rose 3.2% (14.9% y/y). The value of residential building increased a lesser 0.8% (2.9% y/y), held back by a 0.3% (+18.8% y/y) decline in multi-family. Single-family building rose 1.5% (3.7% y/y) while home-improvements edged up 0.2% (4.4% y/y).

Public construction activity ticked up 0.5% (-2.5% y/y). Highways & streets construction rose 1.8% (2.5% y/y). The value of building activity here is nearly one-third of the public construction total. The value of building in the educational sector slipped marginally m/m but rose 18.4% y/y. Office building also slipped m/m and by 0.7% y/y.

The construction put-in-place figures are available in Haver's USECON database. The expectations figure is contained in Haver's AS1REPNA database.

Construction Put in Place (%) Dec Nov Oct Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Total 1.5 0.4 0.3 4.3 -1.9 -11.3 -15.3
 Private 2.1 -0.4 1.4 8.3 0.6 -15.2 -22.4
  Residential 0.8 -0.3 2.8 4.9 -1.2 -2.9 -29.9
  Nonresidential 3.3 -0.5 0.2 11.4 2.3 -24.0 -16.0
 Public 0.5 1.7 -1.7 -2.5 -6.1 -3.9 2.1
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