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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Activity Eased in November
by Tom Moeller  January 4, 2016

The value of construction put-in-place declined 0.4% (+9.7% y/y) during November following a 0.3% October rise, revised from 1.0%. Three-month growth of 0.2% (AR) compared to 29.2% during Q2. A 0.5% rise in November had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Data back to 2005 were revised, notably for 2014.

Public sector building fell 1.0% (+6.0% y/y), the fourth decline in the last five months. Water supply spending declined 7.6% (-7.0% y/y) but office construction increased 1.1% (8.0% y/y). Highway and street construction eased 1.3% (+6.0% y/y) and power construction declined 2.4% (-2.0% y/y).

Building activity in the private sector slipped 0.2% following a 0.7% October rise. During the last three months, activity increased at a much-reduced 3.6% rate. Residential building activity improved 0.3% for the second consecutive month (10.4% y/y). These increases are reduced from a 13.2% rise during Q2. The increase was led by a diminished 0.6% rise in single-family building (9.4% y/y). Multi-family construction fell 0.7% but still rose by roughly one-quarter y/y. Spending on improvements inched 0.1% higher (6.1% y/y). Nonresidential building fell 0.7% (+11.7% y/y) as factory sector construction declined 4.0% (+27.3% y/y).

The construction spending figures are in Haver's USECON database and the expectations figure is contained in the AS1REPNA database.

Construction Put in Place (SA, %) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total -0.4 0.3 0.2 9.7 9.6 6.6 7.9
  Private -0.2 0.7 0.4 11.0 12.9 11.3 13.8
    Residential 0.3 0.3 1.2 10.4 14.4 19.9 10.5
    Nonresidential -0.7 1.1 -0.4 13.6 12.7 2.7 17.5
  Public -1.0 -0.8 -0.5 6.0 1.8 -3.1 -2.8
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