New Construction Spending Up Slightly in March

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The U.S. Census Bureau reported Monday morning that construction spending in March rose by 0.3% to an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.137.5 trillion from the downwardly revised estimate of $1.133.6 trillion in February. Compared with March 2015, total spending is up 8%.

For the first three months of 2016, new construction spending rose 9.1% to an estimated total of $240.4 billion, compared with the 2015 total of $220.3 billion.

The consensus estimate by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a rise of 0.5% in construction spending for March.

For the month of March, private residential construction rose 1.6% month over month to $435.5 billion. Private nonresidential construction rose 0.7% month over month, and total private construction spending on a seasonally adjusted annual basis rose 1.1% to $842.33 billion, compared with a revised February total of $832.79 billion.

In the private sector, single-family residential construction is 13.4% higher than it was a year ago and multifamily construction is up 34.6% from March 2015. Private, nonresidential construction is up 7.6% year over year.

In the public sector, seasonally adjusted total spending fell 1.9% compared with February, and it is now 6.7% higher compared with March 2015. Spending on educational facilities increased by 0.4% month over month and is up 9.4% from March 2015 spending. Public residential construction fell 2.5% month over month and remains down 1.2% compared with March 2015.

Private-company spending on new housing remains up sharply year over year. Private sector spending on nonresidential construction spending is up 1.7% month over month and up more than 9% year over year. Total public and private construction spending is up 8% compared with March 2015.