New Construction Spending Improves Slightly in April


The U.S. Census Bureau reported this morning that construction spending in April rose by 0.4% to an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of $860.8 billion, from an upwardly revised estimate of $857.7 billion in March. Compared with April 2012, spending is up 4.3%. For all of 2012, construction spending rose 9.9% year-over-year, compared with 2011.

The consensus estimate by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a rise of 1% in construction spending for April.

Spending on private residential construction fell 0.1% to $301.9 billion, compared with the revised March total of $302.2 billion. Private nonresidential construction rose 2.2% month-over-month, and total private construction spending rose 1% to $602 billion.

In the private sector, single family residential construction is 36.9% higher than it was a year ago and multifamily construction is up 56.3% from March 2012. Private commercial construction is up 3.5% year-over-year, and up 1% from March.

In the public sector, total spending is down 5.1% year-over-year, continuing a slide begun in September 2012. Spending on educational facilities fell 4.4% month-over-month and 12.7% from April 2012 spending. Public residential construction fell 5.4% month-over-month, and it is 0.6% lower year-over-year.

Construction spending in the public sector continues to decline at a slightly faster rate. In the private sector, multifamily construction continues its growth pattern, but this is a volatile number and can easily drop as quickly as it rises.

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