Construction spending scrambled back into positive territory
by a tiny bit in December, gaining 0.1 percent from November's level to an
estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,116.6 billion. The gain came even as the November estimate
was revised down even further from a 0.4 percent loss to a negative 0.6 percent
at $1.116.0 billion. The December figure
was still well above the spending pace in December 2014 of $1,031.6 billion, an
increase of 8.2 percent.
The December numbers, released Monday by the U.S. Census
Bureau, were significantly lower than analysts had predicted, a range,
according to Econoday and Bloomberg of 0.3 percent to 1.3 percent
with a consensus of 0.6 percent.
On an unadjusted basis there was an estimated $86,903 billion
spent during the month compared to $93,377 billion in November and $79,535
billion in December 2014. Spending on
construction for the entire year is estimated to be up 10.5 percent from 2014.
Spending on private construction was at a seasonally
adjusted annual rate of $824.0 billion, down 0.6 percent from the revised November
pace of $828.8 billion but 9.9 percent higher than a year earlier. On non-adjusted basis overall privately
funded construction rose 12.8 percent for the year to date through December
compared to the same period in 2014.
Private spending on residential construction was
significantly healthier than construction overall. December expenditures were estimated at a
seasonally adjusted rate of $429,606 compared to $425,785, an increase of 0.9
percent and 8.1 percent higher than the previous December. Single family construction rose a percentage
point from November at $231,316 billion, an annual increase of 8.7
percent. Multi-family fared even better
with a month-over-month gain of 2.7 percent to $52,806 billion, a 12.0 percent
Expenditures on privately funded residential construction
were estimated at $31,624 on a non-seasonally adjusted basis and year to date
was up 12.6 percent from the same period in 2014. Single-family construction rose 12.9 percent
year-to-date and multifamily was 22.2 percent higher.
While the numbers are still very small, publicly-funded
residential construction did rise in 2014, finishing the year at a total of
$6,428 billion, an increase of 27.2 percent from the end of December 2014.