Construction spending climbed 1% in October from September’s level to more than $1.1 trillion and jumped 13% from the year-earlier total, the Commerce Dept. says.
The report from Commerce’s Census Bureau, released on Dec. 1, also shows that private construction put in place in October edged up 0.8% from September’s figure, to a $892.4-billion annual rate, seasonally adjusted.
On a year-over-year basis, private construction posted a 15.9% gain.
The Census Bureau also said that completed public construction increased 1.4% from the previous month’s level, to a rate of $304.9 billion. Public construction also rose 6.1%, year over year.
Total October residential construction was up 1% from September to a $405.6-billion rate and a 16.8% increase from October 2014’s.
Nonresidential projects showed a similar trend, increasing 1% from September’s mark and 11% year over year.
“The October data were positive across the board,” Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America chief economist, said in a statement. “The pause that had appeared in private and public nonresidential spending for several months seems to have ended,” he added.
The industry’s $1.107-trillion overall rate was the highest since December 2007, Simonson noted.
Among major segments, manufacturing was particular strong in October. Its $90.8-billion rate was up 3% from September and a 40.5% leap, year over year.
Office buildings climbed 0.5% in October from September, to a $57.8-billion rate and surged 15.3% from the year-earlier total.
Highways and streets was the largest nonresidential sector in October, recording a $94.4-billion rate. That was a 1.1% uptick from the previous month and a 6% gain from the year-earlier rate.
Lodging dipped 0.4% month to month, to a $22.7-billion rate, but soared 29.6% from October 2014.
The only sector showing monthly and year-over-year declines in October was commercial construction, whose $66.9-billion rate was off 0.5% month to month and down 2.2% from October 2014.
Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist, noted that October nonresidential public construction spending’s month-to-month increase was higher than private construction’s. Basu said that was “a stark reversal” from earlier years when private spending drove industry growth.
He added, “There is reason to believe that public finances will continue to improve, which should help bolster nonresidential construction’s fortunes into 2016.”
AGC officials cautioned that the healthy construction markets may make it more difficult for contractors to get enough qualified workers.