Monthly Construction Spending Dips, but Is Up Year Over Year
Spending on construction in December edged down 0.2% from November's level but posted a solid 5% gain from the year-earlier figure, the Commerce Dept.'s U.S. Census Bureau has reported.
The Census Bureau report, released on Feb. 3, shows the value of construction put in place in December dipped 0.2% on a monthly basis, to an annual rate of $1.33 trillion.
But that total was up 5% from December 2018. The rates are adjusted for seasonal differences.
Nonresidential construction moved down 1.2% from November, to a rate of $779.6 billion, which was up 4.4% on a yearly basis.
Residential construction climbed 1.4% for the month and 5.8% year over year, to a rate $548-billion, the Census Bureau reported.
According to the Census Bureau report, private-sector construction annual spending totaled $974.7 billion in December, an 0.1% decline from November but a 2.9% increase year over year.
Public sector construction totaled $336.4 billion in December, off 0.4% from the previous month but a strong 11.5% upturn from the year-earlier figure.
Only three of the 16 nonresidential construction sectors recorded month-to-month increases in December: highways and streets, up 3.1%, to $100.2-billion for the year; conservation and development, up 1.1%, to $10 billion; and communication, up 0.9%, to $23.7 billion.
The largest monthly percentage downturn came in manufacturing construction, which was off 4.3%, to $74.6 billion.
The biggest year-over-year percentage gain was in water supply, which increased 33.6%, to $18 billion.
The sharpest decline came in religious construction, which dipped 10.9%, to $2.9 billion.
Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America's chief economist, said in a statement, "Both the actual spending totals for December and our members' expectations for 2020 point to a positive year for all major categories of construction."