Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Private Construction Spending decreases in December

by Bill McBride on 2/01/2011 12:45:00 PM

Catching up ... the Census Bureau reported this morning that overall construction spending decreased in December compared to November.

[C]onstruction spending during December 2010 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $787.9 billion, 2.5 percent (±1.3%) below the revised November estimate of $807.8 billion.
Private construction spending also decreased in December:
Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $486.9 billion, 2.2 percent (±1.1%) below the revised November estimate of $498.0 billion. Residential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $226.4 billion in December, 4.1 percent (±1.3%) below the revised November estimate of $236.1 billion. Nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $260.5 billion in December, 0.5 percent (±1.1%)* below the revised November estimate of $261.9 billion.
Private Construction Spending Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

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

Both private residential and non-residential construction spending decreased in December.

Residential spending is 66.5% below the peak in early 2006, and non-residential spending is 37% below the peak in January 2008.

Sometime this year (in 2011), residential construction spending will probably pass non-residential spending. Although I expect the recovery in residential spending to be sluggish, residential investment will probably make a positive contribution to GDP and employment growth in 2011 for the first time since 2005. And that is one of the reasons I think growth (both GDP and employment) will be better in 2011 than in 2010.

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