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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Growth Remains Moderate
by Tom Moeller  March 3, 2014

The value of construction put-in-place ticked 0.1% higher in January (5.3% y/y) following a revised 1.5% December increase, initially reported as 0.1%. A 0.3% slip in building activity had been expected in the Action Economics Consensus Survey.

Private sector construction activity improved 0.5% (12.3% y/y) in January following 1.9% growth in December. Residential building gained another 1.1% (14.6% y/y) as single-family home activity jumped 2.3% (21.0% y/y). Multi-family building rose 1.0%, up 28.0% y/y, but spending on improvements edged 0.4% lower (+4.3 y/y). Nonresidential building activity slipped 0.2% (+9.7% y/y) following its 1.2% December gain.

Offsetting the private sector gains was a 0.8% decline (+2.5% y/y) in the value of public sector building activity. Spending on highways & streets surged again, posting a 3.7% gain (15.3% y/y). Spending here accounts for 30% of total public sector construction activity. Offsetting the rise was a 9.5% decline (-27.8% y/y) in commercial construction and a 5.2% drop (+8.7% y/y) in power 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 (%) Jan Dec Nov Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Total 0.1 1.5 0.6 9.3 5.5 8.1 -1.9
  Private 0.5 1.9 1.3 12.3 9.6 14.4 0.2
    Residential 1.1 2.6 2.0 14.6 18.5 14.6 1.9
    Nonresidential -0.2 1.2 0.6 9.7 1.2 14.3 -1.4
  Public -0.8 0.4 -1.1 2.5 -2.6 -2.9 -5.4
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