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Economy in Brief

U.S. Construction Spending Activity Improves Modestly
by Tom Moeller  October 2, 2017

The value of construction put-in-place increased 0.5% (2.5% y/y) during August following two months of sharp deterioration, -1.2% in July and -0.8% in June. A 0.4% increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Private sector building activity gained 0.4% (4.7 y/y) as residential building activity rose by the same amount (11.6% y/y). Nonresidential building activity improved 0.5% (-2.5% y/y), reflecting a 3.2% increase (3.1% y/y) in the value of lodging construction. Commercial building ticked 0.1% higher (10.4% y/y).

The value of public sector building activity gained 0.7% (-5.1 y/y) after sharp declines in three of the prior four months. Conservation & development (-24.0% y/y), power facility production (-16.1% y/y) and highway & street construction (-6.0% y/y) have been notably weak.

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

Construction Put in Place (SA, %) Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total 0.5 -1.2 -0.8 2.5 6.7 10.5 11.4
  Private 0.4 -0.5 0.1 4.7 9.2 12.5 15.4
    Residential 0.4 0.2 1.2 11.6 10.6 13.8 14.6
    Nonresidential 0.5 -1.4 -1.2 -2.5 7.6 11.2 16.3
  Public 0.7 -3.3 -4.1 -5.1 -0.4 5.0 1.9
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