Construction spending on rise
August 15, 2011 | 11:43 pm CDT
ARLINGTON, VA — Construction spending bounced back from an 11-year low in March, increasing by 1.4 percent to a total seasonally adjusted annual rate of $769 billion, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of new Census Bureau data. The AGC,  however, cautioned  that the industry remains weak, noting that total construction spending remains 6.7 percent lower than a year ago and 37 percent lower than the March 2006 peak.

“It is encouraging to see increases in construction spending across most nonresidential categories in March,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Considering how much construction spending has declined during the past five years, however, we are still a long way from anything that can be labeled a recovery.”

Spending on lodging increased the most in March, up 6.1 percent for the month while down 31 percent for the year, followed by manufacturing (5.2 percent for the month, -28 percent for the year) and health care (2.4 percent for the month, -3.2 percent for the year.)

Simonson noted that residential construction appeared to rise by a strong 2.6 percent in March, but that the gain was attributable only to the extremely volatile number for improvements to existing housing, which climbed 6.9 percent for the month. New single-family spending dropped -1.0 percent in March and -9.4 percent over 12 months, while multifamily construction slipped -2.2 percent and -13.2 percent, respectively.

Posted by Karen Koenig

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