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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Rebounds 
by Tom Moeller  April 1, 2013

Building activity improved in February. An expected 1.2% rise (7.9% y/y) in construction put in place followed a little-revised 2.1% January decline. December figures, however, were lowered sharply. Improvement in building activity was broad-based in February.

Private construction improved by 1.3% (12.6% y/y) led by 2.2% gain (20.1% y/y) in residential construction activity. That reflected a 4.3% rise (34.1% y/y) in new single-family building but multi-family construction fell 2.2% (+51.8% y/y). Spending on improvements ticked up 0.5% (1.1% y/y).

In the nonresidential sector, construction activity nudged up 0.7% (2.6% y/y). Lodging building led the rise with a 4.2% increase (16.0% y/y) followed by a 3.5% gain (5.3% y/y) in highways & streets. Construction of power facilities rose 1.0% (6.0% y/y). These gains were offset by a 9.1% drop (-7.2% y/y) in communication building and a 2.2% fall (10.0% y/y) in amusement & recreation.

Public sector building activity regained some momentum with a 0.9% rise but it still was down 1.5% y/y. Highways & streets construction rose 3.4% (5.1% y/y). Activity here accounts for nearly one-third of public sector building activity. Public power construction rose 3.6% and by nearly one quarter y/y. Transportation building gained 3.6% (23.8% y/y) but educational facility building slipped 0.3% (-8.4% 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 (%) Feb Jan Dec Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total 1.2 -2.1 0.1 7.9 9.3 -3.1 -11.2
Private 1.3 -3.1 1.1 12.6 16.4 -1.1 -15.2
Residential 2.2 -0.1 -0.8 20.1 15.5 -1.0 -2.9
Nonresidential 0.7 -3.2 0.7 2.6 7.1 -3.9 -14.8
Public 0.9 0.2 -2.0 -1.5 -3.0 -6.4 -3.6
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