Recent Updates

  • US: New Residential Sales (Mar), FHFA Monthly HPI (Feb)
  • Euro area: Flash Consumer Confidence (Apr)
  • Canada: Wholesale Trade (Feb)
  • Canada Regional: Wholesale Trade by Province (Feb)
  • Luxembourg: Employment (Mar)
  • Mexico: Employment (Mar)
  • Brazil: IPC-S (Apr)
  • Greece: Non-financial Accounts (2018)
  • Hong Kong: CPI (Mar)
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Reverses Earlier Increase
by Tom Moeller  March 4, 2019

The value of construction put-in-place declined 0.6% (+0.8% y/y) during December. It reversed an unrevised 0.8% November gain. A 0.2% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During all of 2018, construction's value rose 4.1%, the weakest increase since a 2011 decline.

The value of private construction activity also fell 0.6% at yearend and was little changed y/y. The decline was the first in three months and was led by a 1.4% drop (-3.5% y/y) in the value of residential building, the fourth decline in five months. Single-family construction dropped 3.2% (-5.2% y/y), the largest of seven consecutive months of decline. The value of improvements eased 0.4% (-3.9% y/y) after strengthening 12.7% in November. Multi-family construction rose another 3.1% (5.3% y/y) after three months of strong increase. Nonresidential building activity improved 0.4% (3.8% y/y) after a 1.1% decline. Office construction was unchanged (8.2% y/y) and commercial construction fell 1.0% (-4.5 y/y). Factory sector building rose 1.7% (6.6% y/y).

The value of public construction eased 0.6% (+4.2% y/y). The 6.6% rise during all of last year was the strongest in ten years. Highway & street construction, which accounts for roughly one-third of public sector spending, declined 0.9% (+0.5% y/y), the fifth decline in six months. Office building increased 6.4% (13.7% y/y) and commercial construction improved 6.1%, up by roughly one-third y/y. Educational facility construction held steady (8.7% y/y).

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

Construction Put in Place (SA, %) Dec Nov Oct Dec Y/Y 2018 2017 2016
Total -0.6 0.8 0.2 0.8 4.1 4.5 7.0
  Private -0.6 1.3 0.1 -0.0 3.4 7.1 9.2
    Residential -1.4 3.4 -0.7 -3.5 3.3 12.4 10.7
    Nonresidential 0.4 -1.1 1.1 3.8 3.5 1.3 7.7
  Public -0.6 -1.0 0.6 4.2 6.6 -3.2 0.7
close
large image