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By: Kendall Jones on April 3rd, 2017

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U.S. Construction Spending Highest Since April 2006

Industry News | Blog Posts

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of construction spending for February 2017 was estimated at $1,192.8 billion, per the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the highest it has been since April 2006 when the annual rate was at $1,192.8 billion.

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This is 0.8% above January’s estimate which was revised up from $1,180.3 billion to $1,183.8 billion. December’s estimate was revised down from $1,191.5 billion to 1,188.9 billion. February’s estimate is 3.0% higher than a year ago with construction spending at 1,157.7 billion in February 2016.

Total construction spending for the first two months of 2017 was $163.3 billion. This is 3.0% above the $158.5 billion spent during January and February 2016.

Private construction spending for February was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $917.3 billion. This is 0.8% above January’s estimate which was revised down from $911.6 billion to $910.0 billion. December’s estimate was revised up again from $909.4 billion to $909.6 billion.

Private residential construction for February was estimated at $484.7 billion, up 0.8% from January. Private nonresidential construction during February was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $432.7 billion, a 0.6% drop from the previous month. Total private construction is up 6.9% from a year ago.

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Public construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $275.5 billion for February. This is up 0.6% from January’s estimate which was revised up from $268.7 billion to $273.9 billion. December’s estimate for public construction spending was revised down again from $282.8 billion to $279.3 billion. Public construction spending is down 8.0% from a year ago.

ConstructConnect Chief Economist Alex Carrick shared his analysis of the latest construction spending report:

"Mild encouragement can be taken from the February 2017 put-in-place construction numbers reported today by the Census Bureau.

"In total, and seasonally adjusted (SA), they were +0.8% month to month (m/m) after being -0.4% in January and -0.2% in December.

"The last time the overall total increased month to month was in November 2016, +1.5%.

"Residential onsite activity levels have picked up nicely. They were +1.8% m/m while nonresidential work stayed flat, 0.0%.

"Year-to-date, the SA average of total put-in-place construction was +3.2% compared with the same January through February timeframe of last year.

"Residential construction, year to date, has been +6.2% while nonresidential work has only shuffled along at +1.0%.

"Residential work has really been heating up of late. The latest three-month average of its SA numbers has been +16.2% (annualized) compared with its previous three-month average.

"Among key subsectors of nonresidential construction, ‘lodging’ work is now +13.9% year-to-date and office construction is a truly impressive +20.6%.

"Those hoping for a surge in manufacturing construction, however, will be disappointed. Capital spending on facilities to contain production lines in February was -9.9% year to date and -29.4% (annualized) latest-three-months over prior-three-months.

"Health care construction is -0.8% year to date and -14.2% (annualized) for latest-three-months over previous-three-months.

"Educational spending, though, has picked up a bit. It’s +3.6% year to date.

"Total private construction is +6.9% year to date and +9.7% three-months over three-months (annualized). The comparable percentage changes for ‘public’ sector work are -8.0% and -11.8%.

"‘Highway and street’ construction captures the hesitancy in the ‘public’ sector. It is -5.1% year to date and -18.3% on a three-months over three-months (annualized) basis. "