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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Weakens
by Tom Moeller  April 1, 2015

The value of construction put-in-place slipped 0.1% during February following a 1.7% drop in January, revised from -1.1%. No change had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Private construction activity gained 0.2% (1.8% y/y) after its 1.1% January drop. Nonresidential building activity improved 0.5% (5.9% y/y). Office construction rose 2.7% (22.8% y/y) but commercial building fell 2.4% (+13.1% y/y). Multi-retail declined 3.1% (-1.7% y/y). Residential building slipped 0.2% (-2.1% y/y), reversing a 0.2% January rise. Single-family building fell 1.4% (+9.7% y/y) while multi-family construction jumped 4.1% (31.5% y/y). Spending on improvements edged 0.3% higher (-28.4% y/y).

Public sector building activity eased 0.8% (+3.1% y/y) following a 3.2% drop. Nonresidential building fell 0.8% (+2.9% y/y) but commercial construction rebounded 12.0% (26.5% y/y) after an 8.4% drop. Power construction fell 16.0% (-19.7% y/y) while highways and streets construction edged 0.2% lower (+2.8% y/y). Construction here amounts to 32% of public sector 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 Feb Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total -0.1 -1.7 1.0 2.1 6.1 5.7 9.2
  Private 0.2 -1.1 0.9 1.8 8.0 10.1 16.0
    Residential -0.2 0.2 0.8 -2.1 5.1 20.4 14.4
    Nonresidential 0.5 -2.4 1.1 5.9 11.2 0.6 17.5
  Public -0.8 -3.2 1.3 3.1 1.5 -3.5 -2.8
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