Nonresidential Construction Spending Drops 0.6 Percent in November

The nation’s nonresidential construction spending decreased 0.6 percent in November, with outlays decreasing to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $564.1 billion, according to the January 2 report by the U.S. Census Bureau and analysis from the Associated Builders and Contractors. Year-over-year, total nonresidential construction spending is up 2.9 percent, according to the report.

Both private and public nonresidential construction spending was down for the month. Private spending fell 0.7 percent and public spending was down 0.5 percent. Private nonresidential construction was up 8.2 percent from the same time last year, while public nonresidential construction spending was down 2.3 percent over the same period.

Construction sectors posting the largest monthly decreases include conservation and development, down 13.5 percent; religious, down 6 percent; and amusement and recreation, down 5.7 percent. Construction sectors with the largest year-over-year decreases in spending include conservation and development, down 16.3 percent; religious, down 9.9 percent; public safety, down 7.2 percent; highway and street, down 5.8 percent; and amusement and recreation, down 5.6 percent, according to the report.

Residential construction spending increased 0.4 percent for the month and is up 18 percent from the same time last year.

Overall, total construction spending–which includes both nonresidential and residential spending–was down 0.3 percent for the month and is up 7.7 percent compared to November 2011.

“The November construction spending report does not offer many surprises,” says Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist Anirban Basu. “With fiscal cliff concerns hanging over the heads of decision makers, construction starts activity has been sporadic and construction spending momentum has withered.

“Because of the weak monthly performance, fewer than half of the 16 nonresidential construction segments report year-over-year gains and many of those only recorded gains in the single digits,” Basu adds. “In addition, nonresidential construction spending weakness was broad-based, encompassing both private and public spending.

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