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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Growth Pulled Down by Severe Winter Weather
by Tom Moeller  April 1, 2014

The value of construction put-in-place eked out a 0.1% rise (8.7% y/y) during February following a revised 0.2% January slip, initially reported as a 0.1% gain. Recently weak performance lowered three-month growth in construction to 7.7% (AR), roughly half its earlier high. The latest figure matched expectations in the Action Economics Consensus Survey.

Private sector construction activity notched 0.1% higher (13.0% y/y) in February following a lowered 0.2% January rise. Residential building declined 0.8% (+13.5% y/y) as single-family home activity fell 1.1% (13.6% y/y), after three months of outsized increase. Multi-family building rose 2.6%, up 29.7% y/y, but spending on improvements declined 1.3% (+9.7% y/y). Nonresidential building activity gained 1.2% (12.5% y/y) and reversed its January fall.

The value of public sector building activity also ticked up 0.1% (-1.0% y/y) after a downwardly revised 1.3% January drop. Outlays to build power stations rose 6.1% (3.0% y/y) and spending on highways & streets posted a 1.4% increase (11.5% y/y). Spending here accounts for 30% of total public sector construction activity. Offsetting these gains was an 8.9% decline (-18.4% y/y) in water supply construction and a 1.2% drop (-8.7% y/y) in education building 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 (%) Feb Jan Dec Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Total 0.1 -0.2 2.0 8.7 5.7 8.1 -1.9
  Private 0.1 0.2 3.5 13.0 9.8 14.4 0.2
    Residential -0.8 1.3 3.3 13.5 18.5 14.6 1.9
    Nonresidential 1.2 -1.0 3.6 12.5 1.5 14.3 -1.4
  Public 0.1 -1.3 -1.6 -1.0 -2.8 -2.9 -5.4
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