US construction ticked up in October

02 December 2010

US Census Bureau data shows construction spending increased +0.7% in October, compared to September, thanks to public projects and the power sector. However, there was continued weakness in the private non-residential and single family residential sectors.

Power construction increased +8.8% between September and October, although the total remained -3.9% below the year-ago level. Public construction edged up +0.4% for the month and +2.2% year-on-year.

However, private non-residential construction fell -0.7% in October leaving the total -20.7% below the October 2009 figure.

Private residential investment jumped +2.5% for the month thanks to a +3.2% rise in new multi-family residential new build and a +6.2% increase in repair & maintenance work. However, single-family construction sank -1.2% for the month.

Commenting on the figures, Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) chief economic ken Simonson said, "Without any upward trend in key private-sector construction components like homes and office buildings, it is hard to feel optimistic about the near future. With public construction at risk of cutbacks, it is premature to conclude that construction has awakened from its long nightmare."

Patrick Newport, US economist at forecasting company IHS Global Insight described the October spending data as, "A mixed bag."

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