New Construction Spending Up Solidly in August

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The U.S. Census Bureau reported Monday morning that construction spending in August rose by 0.5% to an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $1.2183 trillion, above the upwardly revised estimate of $1.2123 trillion in July. Compared with August 2016, total spending is up 2.5%.

For all of 2016, new construction spending rose 4.5% to an estimated total of $1.1624 trillion, compared with the 2015 total of $1.1124 billion. For the first eight months of 2017, construction spending totaled $806.2 billion, up 4.7% year over year.

The consensus estimate by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a month-over-month rise of 0.3% in construction spending for August and a year-over-year spending increase of 1.8%.

For the month of August, private residential construction rose 0.4% month over month to $520.9 billion. Private nonresidential construction rose 0.5% month over month and total private construction spending on a seasonally adjusted annual basis rose 0.4% to $954.84 billion, compared with a revised July total of $950.5 billion.

In the private sector, single-family residential construction is 11.1% higher than it was a year ago and multifamily construction is up 2.3% from August 2016. Private, nonresidential construction is down 2.5% year over year.

In the public sector, seasonally adjusted total spending rose 0.7% compared with July and is 5.1% lower compared with August 2016. Spending on educational facilities increased by 3.5% month over month, and it is down 2.8% from last August’s spending. Public residential construction rose 1.1% month over month and dropped 16.3% compared with August 2016.

Seasonally adjusted annual total public and private construction spending remains well below the year-to-date peak of $1.2367 trillion posted in May.