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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Activity Declines Again
by Tom Moeller  July 1, 2016

The value of construction put-in-place declined 0.8% (+2.8% y/y) during May following a 2.0% April drop, revised from -1.8%. A 0.7% increase was expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Data back to 2014 were revised.

Building activity in the private sector eased 0.3% (+4.7% y/y), led by a 0.7% drop (+3.9% y/y) in nonresidential construction after a 0.1% shortfall. Educational building declined 4.5% (+2.9% y/y) and commercial construction fell 1.6% (+3.2% y/y). Increasing was amusement & recreation building by 3.2% (20.1% y/y) and transportation construction by 1.7% (2.4% y/y).

The value of residential building activity was unchanged (+5.4% y/y) after a 3.5% drop. Single-family construction declined 1.3% (+6.3% y/y), down for the fifth month in the last six. Multi-family construction activity rose 1.8% (23.9% y/y) following a 2.0% decline, and the value of improvements rose 1.4% (-1.9% y/y) after a 6.8% shortfall.

The value of public sector building activity declined 2.3% (-2.6% y/y), down for the third straight month. Transportation building activity declined 4.6% (-6.5% y/y) and highways & streets construction eased 0.2% (-1.1% y/y). Increasing was the value of office construction by 4.2% (-11.3% 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, %) May Apr Mar May Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total -0.8 -2.0 1.6 2.8 10.3 11.4 6.3
  Private -0.3 -1.9 2.4 4.7 12.5 15.4 10.9
    Residential 0.0 -3.5 2.8 5.4 16.8 14.6 20.1
    Nonresidential -0.7 -0.1 2.0 3.9 8.1 16.3 2.7
  Public -2.3 -2.3 -0.7 -2.6 4.5 1.9 -3.1
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