US construction up +8.4% in March

By Chris Sleight07 May 2014

The value of construction put in place stood at US$ 943 billion in the US for the 12 months to the end of March. This was a +8.4% increase on the same point last year, according to data from the Census Bureau.

Most of the gains came from the residential construction sector, which was up +15.2% to the end of March, to US$ 375 billion. This boosted private construction output by some +12.5% compared to a year ago to US$ 680 billion, with good gains also being seen in the lodging, office, communication and conservation & development categories of non-residential construction.

However, there were also falls in several key areas of private non-residential construction, most significantly projects relating to health care, education, sewage & waste disposal and water supply.

Publicly funded construction was down -0.8% compared to a year ago to US$ 263 billion, with most sub-sectors seeing a decline. The most significant falls were in the health care, educational, power, sewage & waste disposal and water supply sectors. However, there were gains for transportation, highway & street and conservation & development construction.

Commenting on the figures, Ken Simonson, chief economist at the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) said, “It is encouraging that spending remained level despite severe winter weather that may have delayed some projects, and the totals are likely to grow moving into spring.”

He added, “There appears to be plenty of demand for more apartments and many categories of private non-residential construction. Single-family homebuilding should remain above year-ago levels, although growing much more slowly as the year progresses. Public construction is likely to shrink further, based on what has been proposed or enacted in federal and state budgets.”

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