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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Growth Moderates
by Tom Moeller  February 3, 2014

The value of construction put-in-place ticked 0.1% higher in December (5.3% y/y) following a revised 0.8% November increase, initially reported as 1.0%. No change in building activity had been expected in the Action Economics Consensus Survey. For all of last year, growth in construction activity moderated to 5.5% from 8.1% in 2012.

Private sector construction activity jumped 1.0% (8.0% y/y) in December following 1.7% growth in November. Residential building surged another 2.6% (18.3% y/y) as single-family home building activity jumped 3.4% (21.6% y/y). Spending on improvements gained 2.0% (12.0% y/y) while multi-family building rose 0.5%, up by roughly one-quarter y/y. Nonresidential building activity declined 0.7% (-1.7% y/y) following its 2.4% November jump.

Offsetting the private sector gains was a 2.3% decline (-0.7% y/y) in the value of public sector building activity. The shortfall reflected outsized declines in many components but spending on highways & streets surged 1.8% (11.3% y/y). Spending here accounts for 30% of total public sector construction activity.

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

Construction Put in Place (%) Dec Nov Oct Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Total 0.1 0.8 0.7 5.3 5.5 8.1 -1.9
  Private 1.0 1.7 0.2 8.0 9.6 14.4 0.2
    Residential 2.6 1.1 -0.1 18.3 18.3 14.6 1.9
    Nonresidential -0.7 2.4 0.7 -1.7 1.4 14.3 -1.4
  Public -2.3 -1.4 1.8 -0.7 -2.8 -2.9 -5.4
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