|Construction spending steps up in March|
Construction spending inched up in March to an annualized rate of $808 billion.
Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) chief economist Ken Simonson reports that construction spending advanced 0.1 percent from February to March of this year, and is 6 percent above year-ago levels. Based on recently released federal data, Simonson says the overall gains mask divergent trends as public sector construction activity declines while private sector demand for new construction strengthens.
“Private and public sector demand for construction appear to be heading along two distinct directions,” says Simonson. “While it is great to see private sector activity coming back to life, it is unfortunate to see declining public sector demand dampen the industry's overall growth.”
Private construction activity expanded by 11.5 percent between March 2011 and March 2012 and by 0.7 percent compared to February 2012. Nonresidential spending was particularly robust, expanding by 15.2 percent from March 2011 and by 0.7 percent compared to February 2012. Simonson reports the biggest private nonresidential monthly spending increases were for transportation (+6.7 percent for the month) and office projects (+5.4 percent for the month). Manufacturing (+38.6 percent for the year) and power construction (+22.1 percent for the year) had the largest annual increases.
Private residential spending went up 0.7 percent compared to February 2012 and 7.4 percent compared to March 2011. New single-family construction posted a 10.3 percent year-over-year rise and a 3.8 percent increase for the month. Multi-family construction was up 23.3 percent from the previous March but down 3.1 percent from February; spending on residential improvements moved up 2.6 percent year-over-year and fell 1.9 percent for the month.