Nonresidential Construction Spending Remains Frozen in January

Nonresidential construction spending declined for the second consecutive month, falling 0.3 percent in January, but is up 6.5 percent over the past year, according to a March 3 release by the U.S. Census Bureau. Spending for the month totaled $578.7 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis.

“Wicked weather has produced a temporary halt to the nation’s nonresidential construction recovery,” says Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist Anirban Basu. “Based on backlog and other leading indicators, 2014 should have gotten off to a decent start; however, the cold and dislocating weather has now persisted into March, strongly suggesting that the first quarter of 2014 will not end up being a period of progress for the nation’s nonresidential construction segments.

“Though this winter has been more challenging than most, January declines in nonresidential construction spending are not unusual, even on a seasonally adjusted basis,” Basu continues. “During six of the past seven years, January nonresidential construction spending has fallen, often sharply. The implication is that 2014’s weak start should not be indicative of what performance is likely to be come spring.”

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