US construction steady in February

02 April 2015

The value of construction put in place for the 12 months to the end of February was US$ 967 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the US Census Bureau. This was a +2.1% increase on the figure for February 2014. However, there was a -0.1% decline against the rolling 12-month total for January 2015.

The increase was due to a +4.6% rise in non-residential construction to US$ 612 billion for the 12 months. However, this was offset by a -1.9% decline in the residential sector, which fell to US$ 356 billion for the same period.

The private construction sector accounts for more than 98% of the residential segment by value, so the fall in this area had an overall impact on private construction activity. This section of the market was up +1.8% to US$ 698 billion over the 12 months to February, compared to the +3.1% rise in publicly –funded construction.

Among the more buoyant construction sectors over the last year have been office, commercial, amusement/recreation, conservation & development, manufacturing, highway & street and the sewage/ waste disposal areas. However, there have been declines in the communication and power sectors, among others.

Commenting on the figures, Ken Simonson, chief economist at the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) trade association said, "Private multifamily and non-residential construction increased on both a monthly and year-over-year basis, while single-family and public construction spending retreated last month but still advanced from year-ago levels. Similarly mixed results are likely to recur throughout 2015 as the economy continues to grow but potential homebuyers remain hesitant and governments face difficult trade-offs on spending priorities."

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