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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Activity Improves
by Tom Moeller  January 3, 2017

The value of construction put-in-place increased 0.9% during November following a 0.6% October gain, revised from 0.5%. Construction was up 4.1% y/y following stronger growth from 2012 through 2015. The latest rise compared to expectations for a 0.6% increase in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Private sector construction activity improved 1.0% (4.6% y/y) after a 0.1% October uptick. Residential building increased 1.0% (3.0% y/y) after a 1.6% improvement. Single-family building activity increased 1.8% (-0.9% y/y) after a 2.8% jump. The value of improvements rebounded 1.5% (+6.8% y/y) and made up October's 1.0% decline. Multi-family building activity was off 2.7% (+10.7% y/y), the first monthly fall since July.

Public sector building activity improved 0.8% (2.6% y/y) following three months of strong increase. Commercial construction gained 0.5% (23.4% y/y) following two months of decline, and education facility activity increased 2.1% (6.2% y/y). Highway & street construction, which is roughly one-third of the public sector total, improved 1.1% (10.5% y/y), the third straight month of strong increase.

The construction spending figures are in Haver's USECON database and the expectations reading is contained in the AS1REPNA database.

Construction Put in Place (SA, %) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total 0.9 0.6 -0.2 4.1 10.3 11.4 6.3
  Private 1.0 0.1 -0.5 4.6 12.5 15.4 10.9
    Residential 1.0 1.6 -1.1 3.0 16.8 14.6 20.1
    Nonresidential 0.9 -1.5 0.1 6.4 8.1 16.3 2.7
  Public 0.8 2.2 1.0 2.6 4.5 1.9 -3.1
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