Tag Archives: private nonresidential construction

Real Estate/Construction in Arizona

Construction Spending Up 0.7%, Driven By Surge In Power, Public Projects

Total construction spending increased by 0.7 percent in October, driven largely by growing demand for power projects and public construction, the Associated General Contractors of America noted today in an analysis of new Census Bureau data.

The new data, however, indicated continued weakness in many construction categories, including private nonresidential and single family construction, association officials observed.

“Without any upward trend in key private-sector construction components like homes and office buildings, it is hard to feel optimistic about the near future,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “With public construction at risk of cutbacks, it is premature to conclude that construction has awakened from its long nightmare.”

Simonson added that power construction increased by 8.8 percent between September and October at a seasonally adjusted rate, although the total remained 3.9 percent below the year-ago level. Public construction, aided by federal spending on stimulus, military base realignment and Gulf Coast hurricane-control projects, edged up 0.4 percent for the month and 2.2 percent year-over-year.

Private nonresidential construction, however, slumped 0.7 percent in October, leaving the total 20.7 percent below the October 2009 figure. All 11 of the Census Bureau’s private nonresidential categories were below year-ago levels, Simonson added, with only private power and transportation showing gains from September.

Private residential investment jumped 2.5 percent for the month. However, Simonson cautioned that the apparent leap is attributable to a 3.2 percent advance in new multi-family construction and a 6.2 percent rise in improvements to existing properties, whereas single-family construction sank 1.2 percent for the month.

Association officials said that a proposal released today by the Deficit Commission to increase investments in highways, bridges and transit system construction provided some room for optimism. They urged Congress to embrace the transportation proposal, noting it would help the economy over the long run while giving a much-needed boost to short term construction demand.

“The best way to reduce the deficit and simultaneously support a strong and expanding economy is to invest in our aging network of highways, bridges and transit systems,” said Stephen E. Sandherr. “Even as the broader report calls for dramatic reductions in federal spending, it is clear that our country can’t afford to neglect its infrastructure.”

Nonresidential Construction Spending Dips In September

Nonresidential Construction Spending Dips In September 2010

While total construction spending edged up in September, private nonresidential construction slipped 1.6 percent, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau.

On a year-over-year basis, private nonresidential construction spending is down 24.6 percent. Meanwhile, total nonresidential construction spending – which includes both privately and publicly financed projects – was flat for the month and is down 12.4 percent from September 2009, and now stands at $559.6 billion on a seasonally adjusted annual rate.

Construction subsectors posting the largest monthly decreases were lodging, down 7.8 percent; manufacturing, 3.5 percent lower; and conservation and development-related construction, down 3.1 percent. Those subsectors suffering the biggest losses from the same time last year include lodging, down 53 percent; manufacturing, down 35.5 percent; and office construction, 24.5 percent lower.

In contrast, 9 of 16 nonresidential construction subsectors posted spending increases from the previous month led by transportation, up 4.1 percent; health care, 1.8 percent higher; office, up 1.6 percent; and amusement and recreation-related construction, up 1.6 percent. Five subsectors are up, compared to the same time last year, including conservation and development, up 25.5 percent; sewage and waste disposal, 13.9 percent higher; and water supply construction, up 7.7 percent.

Public nonresidential construction spending, which represents 55.3 percent of total nonresidential construction, was up 1.3 percent for the month and up 0.7 percent year-over-year. Residential construction spending was up 1.8 percent for the month, but is down 5.3 percent compared to September 2009. Total construction spending was up 0.5 percent in September compared to August, but down 10.4 percent compared to the same time last year.

“Though the media will likely focus upon the fact that total construction spending was up in September for the first time in three months, there is relatively little to celebrate in the most recent construction spending report,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “For example, total nonresidential construction spending last September totaled $639 billion on an annualized basis. In contrast, the total this September is $560 billion, a decline exceeding 12 percent. In addition, nonresidential construction volumes were virtually unchanged from August, and remained lower than they were during the early summer.

“Still, there was some positive movement. Construction spending on office space rose in September, perhaps because the lending environment is thawing a bit and new owners of buildings are seeking to re-tenant their purchases and to put their imprint on their properties,” said Basu.

“Construction related to education was also up, a good sign since the fear has been that education-related spending would continue to fall in the wake of still distressed state and local government budgets,” Basu said.

“However, there are also indications that publicly-financed spending related to the stimulus package passed in February 2009 is beginning to wane. For example, spending on construction related to water supply is no longer rising rapidly, and spending in the highway and street category declined in September. Looking at the bigger picture, today’s data suggests that overall nonresidential construction spending is poised to remain quite flat in the months ahead,” Basu said.