US construction ticks up in April

By Chris Sleight02 June 2009

The value of construction put in place in the US in April was up +0.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to March. However, the figure on a 12-month rolling basis of US$ 969 billion was -10.7% lower than April 2008's US$ 1085 billion.

April saw private construction rise +1.4& compared to march, while public sector construction fell -0.6%. Within the private sector there was a +0.7% rise in residential building - the first month-on-month rise for several years - while the non-residential sector (including privately funded infrastructure) was stronger with a +1.8% rise.

In the public sector, rises in spending on highway, transportation and power infrastructure spending were more than wiped out by cuts in construction linked to sewage and waste disposal, water supply and educational establishments.

Despite some crumbs of comfort in the figures, particularly in residential construction, the results were received with scepticism in some quarters.

Ken Simonson, chief economist at the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) said, "The Census tables fail to show that the ostensible upturn in residential improvements comes after huge downward revisions to the estimates for March and February. In other words, the apparent gain in residential construction is really limited to a preliminary estimate for the volatile and hard-to-measure renovations and additions component."

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