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Construction Spending Strong in Public Sector

March 7, 2016


Recently the U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced the monthly estimates for construction spending in January 2016.

During that time, overall construction spending was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,140.8 billion, 1.5 percent above the revised December 2015 estimate. The January 2016 figure is 10.4 percent above the January 2015 estimate of $1,033.3 billion. Though private nonresidential spending was up, the more significant jump, at least as a percentage, came from public construction spending.

Public construction spending had considerable growth over the past year, with overall spending up 13 percent from January 2015. Highway construction, along with commercial spending, is the primary driver of growth with increases of 34% and 56% respectively compared to the previous period a year ago.

From December 2015 to January 2016, public spending on construction was at $309.4 billion, 4.5 percent above the revised December estimate. A large driver of this growth came from highway construction which was $110.4 billion, 14.7 percent above the revised December estimate of $96.2 billion. Other strong sectors include conservation and development which was up 10.5 percent, and commercial which was also up 6.5 percent.

With regard to private spending, nonresidential was at $831.4 billion, just 0.5 percent above the revised December estimate of $827.3 billion. Residential construction was $433.2 billion in January, nearly the same as the revised December estimate of $433.1 billion. Nonresidential construction was $398.2 billion in January, just slightly above the revised December estimate.

The next data report for construction spending for February 2016 will be released April 1, 2016.