March New Construction Spending Slows on Lack of Public Spending

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The U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday morning that construction spending in March increased by 0.2% to an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of $942.5 billion from an upwardly revised estimate of $940.8 billion in February. Compared with March 2013, spending is up 8.4%.

For the first three months of 2014, new construction spending is up 8.3%, compared with the first three months of 2013.

The consensus estimate by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a rise of 0.6% in construction spending for March.

Spending on private residential construction rose 0.8% to $369.8 billion, compared with the revised February total of $367.01 billion. Private nonresidential construction rose 0.2% month-over-month and total private construction spending was up 0.5% to $679.59 billion, compared with a revised February total of $676.27 billion.

In the private sector, single family residential construction is 13.2% higher than it was a year ago and multifamily construction is up 32.5% from March 2013. Private nonresidential construction is up 8.6% year-over-year and up 0.2% from February.

In the public sector, seasonally adjusted total spending is down 0.8% year-over-year. Spending on educational facilities fell 2.3% month-over-month and 5.3% from February 2013 spending. Public residential construction was down 6.6% month-over-month and is 26.7% lower year-over-year.

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