US construction sees further monthly growth

By Chris Sleight05 January 2011

Seasonally adjusted US construction spending increased +0.4% in November according to the US Census Bureau. The total value of the industry stood at US$ 810 billion for the 12 months to the end of November, compared to US$ 807 billion for the year to October. However, the figure was still -6.0% lower than that of November 2009, when construction spending on a rolling 12-month basis stood at US$ 862 billion.

The biggest gains in November were seen in the public construction sector, which was up +0.7% on October at US$ 318 billion for the rolling year. This figure was also +4.2% higher than the US$ 305 billion spent on public construction in the 12 months to November 2009. The biggest gains in November were in construction of offices, water infrastructure and conservation-related work.

Private sector construction was up +0.3% on October's figure at US$ 492 billion. However, this was still -11.5% lower than the US$ 556 billion seen for the year to November 2009. Among the growth areas in the most recent month were the power sector and construction in the amusement & recreation industry as well as structures for educational and religious purposes.

November's rise has been received with cautious optimism by the industry. Ken Simonson, chief economist at the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) said, "It is heartening to see three (monthly) increases in a row, but most categories showed more of a seesaw pattern over the past three months, indicating that construction spending remains fragile at best."

Patrick Newport, US economist with IHS Global Insight said, "Construction spending may have turned the corner, but a solid rebound is months away."

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