Private nonresidential construction spending expands


Total nonresidential construction spending is up 5.7 percent from one year ago, reports  Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu . However total nonresidential construction spending fell for the third month in a row, declining 0.2 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $556.85 billion, according to the May 1 report by the U.S. Commerce Department.

“The data on construction spending was mixed, which represents an improvement over recent data releases,” said Basu. “The past few months generally have been associated with negative news regarding the performance of the U.S. nonresidential construction sector.”

Private nonresidential construction spending increased 0.7 percent for the month and is up 15.2 percent year over year. In contrast, public nonresidential construction fell 1.1 percent in March and is down 2.8 percent compared to the same time last year.

Ten subsectors experienced decreases in spending for the month, including water supply, down 4.3 percent; public safety, 3.8 percent lower; sewage and waste disposal, down 2.2 percent; and amusement and recreation, down 2.1 percent. Eight subsectors posted decreases in spending compared to March 2011, including conservation and development, down 15.6 percent; water supply, 10.1 percent lower; religious, down 6.6 percent; and transportation, down 5.9 percent.

On the other hand, six of the sixteen nonresidential construction subsectors posted increases for the month, including lodging, up 5.9 percent; conservation and development, 3.8 percent higher; office, up 3.2 percent; transportation and manufacturing, both up 2 percent; and communication up 1.1 percent. Nine subsectors registered year-over-year gains in construction spending, including manufacturing, up 39.6 percent; power, up 19.2 percent; commercial, 8.9 percent higher; and public safety, up 7 percent.  The presumption being that 2012 will remain a year of economic expansion in America.”

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