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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Continues to Improve
by Tom Moeller  September 1, 2015

The value of construction put-in-place increased 0.7% during July following an upwardly revised 0.7% rise in June. May's increase was revised higher to 2.3%. Three-month growth eased to 15.7% (AR), roughly half the growth as of June. A 0.6% July rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Building activity in the private sector increased 1.3% following a 0.1% June uptick, revised from a 0.5% decline reported initially. Activity increased at a 17.2% rate during the last three months. Nonresidential construction activity bounced back 1.5% (19.1% y/y), the fourth strong gain in the last five months. Residential building activity rose 1.1% (16.0% y/y), the fourth consecutive month of strength. Single-family building jumped 2.1% (15.3% y/y), the strongest of four monthly increases. Spending on improvements improved 0.9% (15.3% y/y) but multi-family building fell 2.2% (+21.0% y/y).

Public sector building eased 1.0% (+6.1% y/y) and rose by 11.9% at an annual rate during the last three months. Office construction improved 5.7% (9.9% y/y) but power construction jumped 8.5% (-5.1% y/y). Water supply spending grew 5.3% (+4.6% y/y) though highway & street construction eased 0.2% (+8.3% y/y). Public safety construction declined 2.2% (-5.8% y/y) and commercial building fell 14.7% (+25.7% 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%) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total 0.7 0.7 2.3 13.9 4.8 6.6 9.2
  Private 1.3 0.1 2.5 17.5 6.0 11.3 15.9
    Residential 1.1 0.9 1.7 16.0 1.0 19.5 14.9
    Nonresidential 1.5 -0.7 3.3 19.1 11.3 3.6 16.9
  Public -1.0 2.2 1.6 6.1 1.9 -3.1 -2.5
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