US construction up again in April

By Chris Sleight03 June 2014

The value of construction put in place in the US was up +8.6% in the 12 months to April, compared to 12 months previously, at US$ 954 billion. The market was also up +0.2% on March 2014’s figure of US$ 952 billion, a third straight month of gains.

As in previous months, it was the private sector that led the way, with the value of commercially funded construction up +11.7% compared to a year ago at US$ 687 billion – about 72% of all construction.

Private residential construction was up +16.3% compared to a year ago, to US$ 383 billion, and there were also double-digit gains in the lodging, office, communication and conservation & development private non-residential categories. On the down side, there were drops in private construction relating to health care, public safety, power and water supply.

Meanwhile, public construction output was up just 1.2% compared to a year ago, at US$ 267 billion. This was due to increases in construction related to education, as well as the power and highway & street categories. Most other areas of public construction were down compared to a year ago.

Commenting on the results, Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) chief economist Ken Simonson said, “Residential, private non-residential and public construction spending all have areas of strength but also pockets of weakness. While the overall trend remains more positive than last year, growth is likely to be spotty for the foreseeable future.”

He added, “The outlook for the rest of 2014 remains uneven. Demand for apartments appears to be very strong, but there are several warning signs about homebuilding. Despite dropping last month, power and manufacturing construction should remain the leading private non-residential categories, with hefty growth for the year as a whole. The rebound in public construction that occurred last month may not be repeated soon.”

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