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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Activity Remains Fairly Steady In December; 2015 Strengthened
by Tom Moeller  February 1, 2016

The value of construction put-in-place improved 0.1% (8.0% y/y) during December following a 0.6% November decline, revised from -0.4%. For all of last year, construction activity strengthened 10.5% versus a 9.6% gain in 2014. A 0.5% rise for December had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Public sector building rebounded 1.9% (+3.0% y/y) following a deepened 2.4% November decline. Highway and street construction jumped 9.4% (13.2% y/y) while commercial construction surged 12.0% (41.4% y/y). Power construction declined 3.9% (-19.8% y/y) and educational building eased 0.5% (+8.2% y/y).

Building activity in the private sector declined 0.6% following no change in November. During the last three months, activity eased at a 0.1% rate. Residential building activity improved 0.9% after a 0.3% rise (9.1% y/y). The increase was led by a strong 1.0% rise in single-family building (9.1% y/y). Multi-family construction recovered 2.7% (11.9%) after a sharp decline. Spending on improvements rose 5.8% (7.9% y/y). Nonresidential building fell 2.1% (+10.4% y/y) as factory sector construction declined 7.3% (+18.1% 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, %) Dec Nov Oct Dec Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total 0.1 -0.6 -0.1 8.0 10.5 9.6 6.6
  Private -0.6 0.0 0.5 9.7 12.3 12.9 11.3
    Residential 0.9 0.3 -0.2 9.1 12.6 14.4 19.9
    Nonresidential -2.1 -0.2 1.3 10.4 12.0 11.3 3.6
  Public 1.9 -2.4 -1.8 3.0 5.6 1.9 -3.1
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