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Construction Spending Declines, Proportions Shift

October 22, 2010 Written by: John Allen, RVP

The US Census Bureau recently released figures on construction spending for July 2010. While construction spending overall has declined in the past year, public construction has become a larger share of the construction market.

In the past year, construction declined approximately 12%, a seasonally adjusted decrease from $901 billion to $805 billion. Spending on private construction declined 14%, from $577 billion to $506 billion, and it now makes up a slightly smaller percentage of total construction when compared to a year ago.

Public construction spending, however, declined only 8% in the past year, dropping from $324 billion to $299 billion and currently comprises a greater share of total construction spending. When looking at construction spending over the past five years, this trend is even more noticeable, as public construction made up only 20% of total construction in 2005 and now accounts for 37% of all construction.

In spite of the overall decline in construction spending, there are some areas which are actually growing. In particular, sewage and waste disposal, water supply, and conservation and development are all on the increase, collectively increasing 9% over last year and making up $48 billion in spending.