July dip in US construction

By Chris Sleight10 September 2012

The value of construction put in place in the US fell -0.9% in July compared to the previous month. However, the total of US$ 834 billion for the 12 months to July was still +9.3% higher than the comparable figure for July 2011.

There was a -1.6% month-on-month decline in residential construction to a rolling 12-month total of US$ 271 billion. Non-residential construction for the year to July was worth US$ 563 billion, a -0.6% decline on the figure for June. However, compared to a year ago, residential activity was up +17.7% and non-residential work climber +5.7%.

There was a clearer split in the figures when comparing private and public construction. Although privately funded work was down- 1.2% month-on-month to US$ 559 million, this total was some +15% higher than the US$ 486 billion recorded in the 12 months to July 2011. In contrast, public construction was down -0.4% month-on-month, but also -0.7% year-on-year.

Commenting on the figures, Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) said, "The July spending numbers send a very mixed message. Construction of new homes, apartments and most private non-residential structures appears to be driving gains in construction activity even as the public sector continues to drag on broader sector growth."

Meanwhile, forecasting company IHS Global Insight said, "Overall, this was a disappointing report. Excluding improvements, spending was down; private nonresidential spending appeared to be running out of steam; and data revisions indicated less strength in the construction industry than previously."

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