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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Activity Continues to Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  December 1, 2015

The value of construction put-in-place increased 1.0% during October following an unrevised 0.6% September increase. Three-month growth of 10.4% (AR) was steady with Q3 but down sharply from 29.2% during Q2. A 0.5% October rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Building activity in the private sector increased 0.8% following a 0.9% September gain. Activity increased at an 11.3% rate during the last three months. Residential building activity rose 1.0% (18.3% y/y), the seventh consecutive month of strong gain. The gain was led by a 1.6% increase in single-family building (11.3% y/y) which equaled the strongest rise of the year. Multi-family building rose 1.4% (27.2% y/y). Spending on improvements eased 0.3% (+21.5% y/y). Nonresidential building improved 0.6% (14.4% y/y) as factory sector construction rose 3.0% (37.6% y/y).

Public sector building increased 1.4% (5.6% y/y) following three months of little change. Water supply spending rose 2.5% (5.3% y/y) and office construction jumped 1.8% (7.2% y/y). Highway and street construction increased 1.1% (5.2% y/y) but power construction declined 5.2% (-8.7% 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, %) Oct Sep Aug Oct Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total 1.0 0.6 0.9 11.7 4.8 6.6 9.2
  Private 0.8 0.9 1.0 14.3 6.0 11.3 15.9
    Residential 1.0 1.6 1.7 16.2 1.0 19.5 14.9
    Nonresidential 0.6 0.2 0.2 12.4 11.3 3.6 16.9
  Public 1.4 -0.1 0.7 5.6 1.9 -3.1 -2.5
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