US construction climbs again in September

02 November 2012

US Construction output for the 12 months to the end of September stood at US$ 852 billion, a +0.6% improvement on the 12-month rolling total for August, and +7.8% higher than in September 2011.

The increase was driven by a +14.4% year-on-year rise in privately funded construction, with the residential sector, along with lodging, office, educational and power-related construction work performing particularly well.

However, the strength of the private sector was tempered by a -4.2% year-on-year decline in public construction. Although there were some gains in the power, transportation and amusement & recreation sub-categories, private non-residential work was -3.6% lower in September than a year previously. Falls in the office and water segments had a particular impact.

Public residential construction was down a huge -26.1% compared to a year ago, however, the greater size of the private sector, which saw +20.9% growth over the same period, meant that overall residential construction was up +19.2% to US$ 292 billion in the 12 months to the end of September.

Commenting on the results, Ken Simonson, chief economist for Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) said, “It is heartening to see the growth in total spending, but the progress remains fragile and fragmentary.”

He went on to add that the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy could have an impact on the industry. “In the wake of the massive losses from this week’s storm, many construction priorities will be reordered, but overall private and public spending patterns are likely to stick unless federal and state lawmakers devote more funds to construction.”

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