Overall construction spending has been virtually static for much of the year. The Census Bureau reported on Tuesday that it had risen by 0.1 percent from July to August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.287 trillion compared to $1.285 trillion the prior month. On an annual basis spending is 1.9 percent lower than in August 2018.

On a non-adjusted basis total spending was $119.140 billion compared to $118.314 billion in July.  Year-to-date (YTD) spending through the end of August was $851.273 billion, a 2.3 percent decrease from the $871.273 billion spent during the same period last year.

Privately funded construction project spending was a seasonally adjusted annualized $955.045 million, unchanged from the prior month and down by 4.0 percent from the $994.526 billion rate of spending in August 2018.  Projects consumed $85.206 billion during the month on an unadjusted basis compared to $85.366 billion in July. YTD spending is down 4.7 percent to $636.940 billion.

Residential spending rose just shy of 1.0 percent during the month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $507.151 billion but is down 5.0 percent year-over-year.  There was $46.800 billion spent on residential construction during the month, virtually identical to spending in July. Residential spending for YTD is running 8.6 percent behind the rate for the first eight months of 2018 at $334.669 billion.

Single-family construction spending posted an increase in August, up 1.4 percent from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $271.928 billion but is running behind the rate in August 2018 by 6.6 percent.  On an unadjusted basis there was $25.416 billion spent in August compared to $24.729 billion in July.  Thus far in 2019 however, single-family construction accounts for nearly all of the residential spending decline. Thru the first eight months there has been total spending of $175.605 billion compared to 191.697 billion for the same period last year, an 8.4 percent decline.

While August was an exception, the rate of $62.028 billion spent represented an 0.9 percent decline from July, the multifamily sector has been the salvation of residential spending.  The August rate of spending on construction in buildings with five or more residential units was up 7.4 percent from the prior August.  YTD spending has totaled $41.744 billion compared to $39.181 billion in 2019 and 2018 respectively, an increase of 6.5 percent this year.

Public sector spending on construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $332.261 billion in August, $6.306 billion of which was for residential construction. These were increases of 0.4 percent and 2.0 percent respectively.  But residential construction was down 6.4 percent on an annual basis while total public construction was 4.6 percent higher. The YTD number for total construction is $214.323, up 5.7 percent.  Residential construction has declined by 9.0 percent thus far in 2018.