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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Growth Eases
by Tom Moeller  July 1, 2015

The value of construction put-in-place increased 0.8% during May following a little-revised 2.1% April gain. Three-month growth of 18.1% (AR) was the strongest since mid-2012. A 0.3% May rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Figures back to 2013 were revised.

Building activity in the private sector improved 0.9% (10.3% y/y) and increased at an 18.7% rate during the last three months. Nonresidential building activity jumped 1.5% (12.7% y/y) after firmer gains in the prior two months. Residential construction activity improved 0.3% (7.8% y/y). Single-family building remained unchanged (11.4% y/y) and multi-family construction gained 0.2% (19.5% y/y). Spending on improvements improved 0.9% (-1.9% y/y) and reversed the prior month's decline.

Public sector building gained 0.7% (2.8% y/y) and rose at a 16.8% rate during the last three months. Office construction strengthened 13.7% (14.2% y/y) while highway & street construction increased 2.1% but was unchanged y/y. Educational building slipped 0.7% (+3.2% y/y). Power construction eased 0.2% (-33.5% y/y) while health care building was little-changed (-5.0% 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 (SA, s%) May Apr Mar May Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total 0.8 2.1 1.3 7.9 4.8 6.6 9.2
  Private 0.9 2.2 1.2 10.3 6.9 11.1 16.0
    Residential 0.3 0.3 -0.8 7.8 1.5 20.2 14.4
    Nonresidential 1.5 4.0 3.3 12.7 12.7 2.7 17.5
  Public 0.7 1.7 1.5 2.8 1.8 -3.1 -2.8
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