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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Inches Higher
by Tom Moeller  June 3, 2013

Building activity improved marginally during April. The value of construction put-in-place gained 0.4% (4.3% y/y) after a revised 0.8% March decline and a 0.8% February increase, revised from -1.7% and 1.5%, respectively. A 0.9% gain in activity had been expected for April. During the first four months of this year, activity has risen 4.7% from 2012. Residential building is up 17.5% but nonresidential activity fell 1.2%. Public sector building is off 4.0% so far this year versus 2012.

Private sector building activity increased 1.0% (9.0% y/y) in April, bolstered by a 2.2% jump (0.6% y/y) in nonresidential construction. Earlier figures were, however, revised lower. Amusements & recreation building gained 3.5% (-8.2% y/y) while educational spending rebounded 2.9% (-2.7% y/y). Commercial construction ticked up 0.2% (3.0% y/y) but office construction slumped 2.1% (+16.5% y/y). Residential building slipped 0.1% (+18.8% y/y). New housing construction jumped 1.7% (40.0% y/y) but spending on improvements slumped 3.3% (-7.0% y/y).

The value of public sector building dropped 1.2% (-5.1% y/y) and activity was down 19.8% from 2009 high. The latest drop reflected a 5.7% shortfall (-11.2% y/y) in conservation & development as well as a 4.4% decline (-12.7% y/y) in education spending. The value of spending on highways & streets inched up 0.5% (-3.4% 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 (%) Apr Mar Feb Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total 0.4 -0.8 0.8 4.2 9.3 -3.1 -11.2
  Private 1.0 0.1 0.4 9.0 16.4 -1.1 -15.2
    Residential -0.1 1.4 3.8 18.8 15.5 -1.0 -2.9
    Nonresidential 2.2 -1.1 -2.9 0.6 17.3 -1.3 -24.0
  Public -1.2 -2.9 1.7 -5.1 -3.0 -6.4 -3.6
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