US construction edges upwards

02 August 2011

Seasonally adjusted construction output in the US grew +0.2% in June, compared to may, for a rolling 12-month total of US$ 772 billion. However, this figure was still -4.7% lower than the US$ 810 billion of construction put in place for the year to June 2010.

On the positive side, it was the third month in a row that construction output has moved upwards. The low point came in March, when construction output was US$ 763 billion, and since then construction output across the US has grown +1.3%.

Compared to May 2011, construction output in June rose +0.8% in the private construction sector, with strong gains in non-residential sectors such as commercial and healthcare construction. On a year-to-year basis, the private sector has held its own reasonably well, with just a -1.7% fall in output compared to June 2010.

In contrast, publicly funded work fell -0.7% over the course of the month, and was down -9.6% compared to a year ago. The steepest monthly fall was in the healthcare sector, although there was a strong rise in the power segment. Compared to a year ago, public residential construction has fallen the furthest, with a -21.6% fall.

Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) CEO Stephen Sandherr sounded a warning about the continuing fall in public construction, "Cutting public investments in infrastructure and construction will offset recent gains in private sector activity. Worse, it will put taxpayers on the hook for even greater expenses down the road as infrastructure deteriorates and costly repairs are required."

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