US construction ticked up in November

06 January 2012

Seasonally adjusted construction spending in the US hit US$ 807 billion in the 12 months to the end of November, a +1.2% rise on the figure of US$ 797 billion for the 12 months to October. The figure is also +0.5% higher than construction output for the year to November 2010, which stood at US$ 803 billion.

Data from the US Census Bureau showed that private construction was up +1% compared to the previous month's figures, thanks to a +2% rise in residential construction. Public construction meanwhile was up +1.7%, with strong gains in the health care and power sectors.

The news was greeted with cautious optimism by the construction industry. Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) said, "Several segments of construction appear to be climbing out of a hole. The new year should reinforce year-over-year gains in apartment, power, manufacturing and private transportation construction. But November's upturns in single-family homebuilding and public construction may not be sustainable."

This view was echoed by forecasting company IHS Global insight, which said of the gain in public construction in November, "We do not see these increases as sustainable, given the budgetary problems confronting state and local governments. Our projection is for real spending on infrastructure and on public construction to decline moderately over the course of 2012."

However, IHS Global Insight described November overall as, "A good month."

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