Tuesday, July 31, 2007

June Construction Spending

by Bill McBride on 7/31/2007 09:59:00 AM

From the Census Bureau: June 2007 Construction Spending at $1,175.4 Billion Annual Rate

The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced today that construction spending during June 2007 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,175.4 billion, 0.3 percent below the revised May estimate of $1,178.4 billion. The June figure is 2.4 percent (±2.1%) below the June 2006 estimate of $1,204.0 billion.

During the first 6 months of this year, construction spending amounted to $550.0 billion, 3.5 percent below the $570.1 billion for the same period in 2006.
...
[Private] Residential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $544.3 billion in June, 0.7 percent below the revised May estimate of $548.3 billion.

[Private] Nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $346.6 billion in June, 0.3 percent above the revised May estimate of $345.6 billion.
Private Construction Spending Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows private construction spending for residential and non-residential (SAAR in Billions). While private residential spending has declined significantly, spending for private non-residential construction has been strong.

The second graph shows the YoY change for both categories of private construction spending.

YoY Change Private Construction Spending The normal historical pattern is for non-residential construction spending to follow residential construction spending. However, because of the large slump in non-residential construction following the stock market "bust", it is possible there is more pent up demand than usual - and that the non-residential boom will continue for a longer period than normal.

Over the weekend, the Chicago Tribune reported: Subprime pain spreads into office market
"The downturn in the residential sector has spilled over into the commercial side as the mortgage lenders, title companies, real estate and mortgage brokers shut down or downsize," said Doug Shehan, a senior director at Cushman & Wakefield Illinois Inc.

Over the past several months the contraction of these firms has kept vacancy rates high, rents modest and building sales uncertain, he said.

"It's changed the landscape of the suburban markets dramatically," Shehan said. "Now, what will be the next industry to absorb the space?"
...
But the pain is not restricted to companies in real estate. Businesses that provide their technology, accounting and marketing also might be feeling the pinch, said Faith Ramsour, Cushman's research director.
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"The ripple effect could be very deleterious because no other industry is growing enough to fill the space," said Geoffrey Hewings, an economics professor and regional job market expert at the University of Illinois.
That story describes the normal historical pattern; nonresidential construction spending follows residential. The question is: Will we see the normal pattern?

I think the answer is yes.