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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Is Depressed by Hurricane Sandy
by Tom Moeller  January 2, 2013

Construction activity suffered in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The value of construction put-in-place fell 0.3% during November after a downwardly revised 0.7% October increase. The decline compared to consensus expectations for a 0.7% rise. A lower level of private nonresidential construction led the drop with a 0.7% (+8.2% y/y) fall. Less spending on lodging led that decline with a 1.3% drop (+25.9% y/y). Office building fell 0.9% but still increased 16.5% y/y. Spending on health care facilities fell 0.3% (-3.7% y/y). Offsetting these declines was a 0.4% rise (19.0% y/y) in residential spending. That was led by a 1.3% jump (29.4% y/y) in new single-family home building. Multi-family building rose 0.5% and nearly doubled y/y, but spending on improvements fell 0.7% (+5.8% y/y).  

In the public sector, building activity fell 0.4% m/m (-2.6% y/y). Office construction declined 5.7% and was off by nearly one quarter y/y. Public safety spending fell 2.6% (-6.2% y/y). To the upside, spending on highways & streets, which is 29% of total public construction spending, rose 0.5% (-6.0% y/y). Transportation spending, which is 10% of total public, gained 0.4% (25.6% y/y). 

The construction spending figures are in Haver's USECON database and the expectations figure is contained in the AS1REPNA database.

 

Construction Put in Place (%) Nov Oct Sep Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Total -0.3 0.7 0.7 7.7 -3.1 -11.2 -15.3
 Private -0.2 0.6 1.7 13.3 -1.1 -15.2 -22.4
  Residential 0.4 1.3 2.9 19.0 -1.0 -2.9 -29.9
  Nonresidential -0.7 -0.2 0.5 8.2 -1.3 -24.0 -16.0
 Public -0.4 1.0 -1.2 -2.6 -6.4 -3.6 2.1
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