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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Slips Following Earlier Strength
by Tom Moeller  March 1, 2012

After several months of strong increase, construction spending slipped in January. The 0.1% decline followed a 1.4% December rise and a 1.9% November gain that was revised up sharply. Gains in the Summer also were solid. Consensus expectations were for a 0.8% January increase and the level of activity was at its highest since December 2009.

Private sector spending slipped marginally due to a 1.5% decline (+16.6% y/y) in nonresidential building. Residential building rose 1.8% (6.7% y/y) as single-family construction increased 2.5% (5.5% y/y) and multi-family rose 0.7% (20.0% y/y). The value of spending on improvements increased 1.3% (6.4% y/y). The value of public sector building activity slipped 0.2% in January but the y/y decline stabilized at -0.5% following the worst comparison of -8.3% this past Summer.

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 (%) Jan Dec Nov Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Total -0.1 1.4 1.9 7.1 -1.7 -11.3 -15.3
 Private -0.0 1.8 1.6 11.7 1.0 -15.2 -22.4
  Residential 1.8 1.5 2.3 6.7 -0.7 -2.9 -29.9
  Nonresidential -1.5 2.1 1.0 16.6 2.5 -24.0 -16.0
 Public -0.2 0.7 2.3 -0.5 -6.0 -3.9 2.1
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