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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Increases
by Tom Moeller  February 1, 2018

The value of construction put-in-place increased 0.7% (1.6% y/y) during December following a 0.6% November gain, initially reported as 0.8%. A 0.5% gain in activity had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During all of last year, construction increased 3.8%, the smallest increase of the economic expansion.

Private sector building activity rose 0.8% (0.9% y/y) as residential building activity improved 0.5% (5.4% y/y). Single-family building activity rose 0.4% (9.2% y/y) but multi-family construction jumped 2.6% (3.2% y/y). The value of improvements edged 0.2% lower (0.7% y/y). Nonresidential building activity increased 1.1% (-3.4% y/y). Educational building jumped 4.1% (1.2% y/y) while transportation construction was little changed (32.1% y/y). Office building strengthened 4.2% (-5.2% y/y), and commercial construction gained 1.6% (5.4% y/y). Power facility construction fell 0.5% (-11.5% y/y) and factory construction eased 0.5% (+3.2% y/y).

The value of public sector building activity nudged 0.3% higher (4.3% y/y). Office building fell 1.5% (+14.2% y/y). Educational building increased 1 .6% (9.4% y/y) and highway & street construction improved 0.3%, unchanged y/y. Conservation & development facility construction rose 1.8% (+3.7% y/y), while power plant construction declined 10.3% (+12.7% y/y).

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, %) Dec Nov Oct Dec Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Total 0.7 0.6 0.1 1.6 3.8 6.5 10.7
  Private 0.8 0.7 -0.6 0.9 5.8 9.2 12.9
    Residential 0.5 1.1 -1.0 5.4 10.6 10.5 14.2
    Nonresidential 1.1 0.3 0.0 -3.4 0.6 7.7 11.5
  Public 0.3 0.1 2.4 4.3 -2.5 -1.2 5.1
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