Nonresidential Construction Spending Returns to Normal

Nonresidential construction spending grew 0.6 percent on a monthly and yearly basis in November 2013, according to the January 2 release by the U.S. Census Bureau. In November, spending totaled $583.436 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis, according to information from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

“Construction activity bounced back in November, due in part to the end of the federal government shutdown and an accompanying return to normalcy,” says ABC chief economist Anirban Basu. “Nonresidential construction spending was up 2.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to September, which makes a better comparison because October was so unusual.

“The recent acceleration in economic activity sets the stage for a much better 2014, both for the broader economy and the nonresidential construction industry,” adds Basu. “We can expect nonresidential construction spending to expand during the first half of the year.”

Seven of the 16 nonresidential construction subsectors posted spending increases in November. Religious spending grew 0.6 percent for the month, but is down 5.6 percent from the same time last year. Education-related construction spending expanded 0.2 percent for the month and is up 1.3 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to the report.

Commercial construction spending grew 4.5 percent in November and is up 17.4 percent on a yearly basis. Communication-related construction spending expanded 10.9 percent for the month but is down 10.7 percent compared to November 2012. Office construction spending was up 2.6 percent in November and is 5.6 percent higher than the same time last year. Construction spending in the power category grew 3 percent on a monthly basis but fell 21.4 percent on an annual basis. Manufacturing construction spending expanded 0.6 percent in November and is up 14.4 percent compared to the same time one year ago, according to the report.

Spending declined in nine nonresidential construction subsectors in November, including public safety-related construction spending, which fell 0.3 percent; amusement and recreation-related spending, which was down 0.6 percent on a monthly basis; conservation and development spending, which was down 4.7 percent for the month; lodging spending, which fell 0.2 percent; and health care-related construction spending, which was down 2.8 percent.

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