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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Activity Eases
by Tom Moeller  April 1, 2016

The value of construction put-in-place fell 0.5% during February following a 2.1% rise in January, revised from 1.5%. A 0.1% increase was expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the last three months, activity grew an average 0.8% per month.

Building activity in the private sector eased 0.1% (+12.5% y/y) following a 1.7% January jump. Activity has improved an average 0.6% per month in each of the last three months. A 1.3% decline (+12.4% y/y) in nonresidential building held back the overall increase. Residential building activity improved 0.9% (11.9% y/y), the same as in January. Single-family building rose 1.2% (10.6% y/y) after a 0.5% increase. Multi-family construction rose 0.9% (28.4% y/y) following a 3.6% increase. Spending on improvements rose 0.5% (6.9% y/y) for the second month.

Public sector building declined 1.7% (+9.1% y/y) following strength during the prior two months. In each of the last three months, activity grew an average 1.3%. Highway and street construction declined 2.1% (+27.1% y/y) while commercial construction gained 2.8% (49.3% y/y). Power construction rose 1.2%, unchanged y/y, but health care building rebounded 1.7% (-0.3% 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, %) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total -0.5 2.1 0.8 11.4 10.6 9.6 6.6
  Private -0.1 1.7 0.3 12.1 12.4 12.9 11.3
    Residential 0.9 0.9 2.3 11.9 13.0 14.4 19.9
    Nonresidential -1.3 2.7 -1.9 12.4 11.9 11.3 3.6
  Public -1.7 3.3 2.2 9.1 5.7 1.9 -3.1
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