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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Is Little Changed for Second Month
by Tom Moeller  April 2, 2018

The value of construction put-in-place improved 0.1% (3.7% y/y) during February following unrevised stability in January. A 0.4% rise in building activity had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Private sector building activity increased 0.7% (3.8% y/y) after a 0.7% decline in January. Nonresidential construction improved 1.5% (1.3% y/y) and reversed January's shortfall. Office construction strengthened 6.5 (3.0% y/y) and commercial construction rose 1.2% (7.4% y/y). Transportation building activity declined 1.3% (+34.4% y/y). Residential building nudged 0.1% higher (6.1% y/y) for a second straight month. Single-family housing activity rose 0.9% (9.5% y/y) for a second straight month. Multi-family construction increased 1.2% (-0.0% y/y) and reversed a 1.7% decline. The value of improvements declined 1.5% (+3.8% y/y), down for the second straight month.

The value of public sector building activity declined 2.1% (+3.7% y/y) and reversed the prior month's increase. Highway and street construction, the largest component of public sector construction, eased 0.2% (-3.1% y/y). Educational building slipped 0.5% (+4.2% y/y) and office construction fell 0.6% (+20.6% y/y). Water supply construction rose 1.3% (5.9% y/y).

The construction spending figures, some of which date back to 1946, are in Haver's USECON database and the expectations reading can be found in the AS1REPNA database.

Construction Put in Place (SA, %) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Total 0.1 -0.0 1.6 3.7 4.1 6.5 10.7
  Private 0.7 -0.7 2.0 3.8 6.2 9.2 12.9
    Residential 0.1 0.1 1.6 6.1 10.9 10.5 14.2
    Nonresidential 1.5 -1.7 2.6 1.3 1.1 7.7 11.5
  Public -2.1 2.3 0.4 3.7 -2.5 -1.2 5.1
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