Friday, October 01, 2010

Private Construction Spending declines in August

by Bill McBride on 10/01/2010 12:30:00 PM

Catching up with all the data this morning ...

The Census Bureau reported overall construction spending increased slightly in August.

[C]onstruction spending during August 2010 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $811.8 billion, 0.4 percent (±1.8%)* above the revised July estimate of $808.6 billion.
However private construction spending declined again:
Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $498.2 billion, 0.9 percent (±1.1%)* below the revised July estimate of $502.6 billion. Residential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $238.5 billion in August, 0.3 percent (±1.3%)* below the revised July estimate of $239.1 billion. Nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $259.7 billion in August, 1.4 percent (±1.1%) below the revised July estimate of $263.5 billion.
Private Construction Spending Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows private residential and nonresidential construction spending since 1993. Note: nominal dollars, not inflation adjusted.

Both residential and non-residential private construction spending declined in August. Residential spending is 64.7% below the peak early 2006, and 4.7% above the recent low in 2009.

Non-residential spending is 37.3% from the peak in January 2008.

Construction Spending YoYOn a year-over-year basis, residential spending has turned slightly negative after the tax credit expired - and this indicates residential investment (RI) will be a drag on Q3 GDP.

Non-residential spending is still off sharply from last year (down 24%), but the rate of decline might be slowing. As major projects are completed, I expect private non-residential spending to fall below residential spending later this year or in early 2011.