Construction spending up in America

By Catrin Jones04 January 2022

Total construction spending in America increased in November compared to levels in October and a year earlier, according to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA).

Gains in private residential and non-residential projects outweighed decreases in public outlays, according to a new analysis of federal construction spending data released by the AGCA.

Officials noted that public sector investments were down in part because Congress has failed to provide funding so far for the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill enacted last year.

“Construction demand is definitely being impacted by Congress’ failure to include the funding increases it promised as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

Construction spending in November totalled US$1.63 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, 0.4% above the October rate and 9.3% higher than in November 2020.

Year-to-date spending in the first 11 months of 2021 combined increased 7.9% from the total for January to November 2020.

Private construction spending rose 0.6% in November from the October total and 12.5% from November 2020. In contrast, public construction spending slipped 0.2% for the month and 0.9% year-over-year.

There were gains in both residential and non-residential private construction. Spending on new single and multifamily residential projects, along with additions and renovations to existing houses, increased 0.9% for the month and 16.3% from a year earlier.

Private non-residential spending edged up 0.1% from October and 6.7% from November 2020. The largest private non-residential segment, power construction, rose 0.1% for the month and 7.5% year-over-year.

“Private non-residential spending appears to be on a solid upswing, with five consecutive months of growth, but public outlays for construction remain erratic,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist.

“The public side isn’t likely to post steady gains until funds from the new infrastructure law become available and turn into actual projects.”

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