Despite a slowdown in the public sector, construction spending managed to eke out an increase of 0.3 percent in April. According to data released this morning by the U.S. Census Bureau, total construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $820.7 billion compared to the revised March estimate of $818.1 billion. The March estimate was revised upward by $10 billion from the original estimate. The April figure is 6.8 percent higher than an estimated rate of $768.2 billion in April 2011.
Private construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $549.7 billion, up 1.2 percent from the upwardly revised (from $531.9 billion) March estimate of $543.4 billion and 12.5 percent higher than a year earlier.
Public sector spending was $271.0 billion, 1.4 percent below the March estimate of $274.7 billion and 3.2 percent below the spending pace in April 2011. The new March figure was revised down from the $276.2 billion estimated in last month's report.
Estimates of actual construction outlays during the first four months of 2012 have reached $238.5 billion, 7.3 percent above the amount spent during the same period last year. Year-to-date private sector spending is 12.9 percent above that in 2011 while public spending is down 2.8 percent.
Residential spending was at an annual rate of $262.3 billion compared to $255.8 billion in March and $247.0 billion in April 2011. All but $6.2 billion of the April figure was private spending. The April private construction figure includes spending at the rate of $119.4 billion for new single family construction and $18.0 billion for new multi-family units.
Actual spending in April (non-seasonally adjusted figures) was estimated at $65.7 billion compared to $60.7 billion in March and $61.8 billion in April 2011. Residential spending totaled $21.6 billion during the month, $21.1 billion of which was for new single family units.