US construction hits seven-year high

By Chris Sleight03 July 2015

The value of construction put in place for the 12 months to the end of May was US$ 1.04 trillion. This was an +8.2% increase on a year ago and a +0.8% increase on April’s figure, according to the US Census Bureau.

The year-on-year growth in residential construction was +8.2%, with this segment of the market rising to US$ 366 billion for the last 12 months. Some US£ 359 billion of this total was private construction activity, wit just US$ 6.6 billion being financed by public funds.

In the US$ 669 billion non-residential sector there was growth almost across the board, with only the public safety, power and water supply construction segments seeing a fall compared to a year ago.

The most robust growth was in the manufacturing construction segment, which was up just shy of +70% compared to a year ago at US$ 90 billion. The amusement & recreation, lodging, office and conservation & development construction segments also saw strong growth.

While total private construction was up +10.3% year-on-year for a total of US$ 752 billion, public construction was up just +2.8% to US$ 283 billion. Again, the power and public safety segments were down sharply, but this was offset by growth in most other areas.

According to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), at US$ 1.04 trillion, construction output was the highest it has been since October 2008. The association’s chief economist, Ken Simonson said, "There were solid monthly and year-over-year gains in May for all major construction categories—private non-residential, residential and public. The private segments appear poised to maintain growth throughout the year. But contractors increasingly report difficulty in finding workers with the right skills to construct large and complex projects."

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