Total expenditures on construction in the U.S. moved slightly higher in September but is lagging behind year-earlier figures.  The annual losses are coming solely from the private sector as publicly funding spending is moving higher in the majority of building categories.

The seasonally adjusted rate of spending nation-wide was $1.294 trillion in September compared to $1.287 trillion in August, a half point gain.  However, that is 2.0 percent lower than in September 2018 when the annual rate was $1.320 trillion. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, spending in September was $116.828 billion, down from 119.109 billion the prior month. Year-to-date (YTD) spending in 2019 is $968.242 billion, down 2.2 percent from the nine-month total in 2018 of $990.242 billion.  

Private construction expenditures in September were at a seasonally adjusted rate of $961.670 billion, an 0.2 percent uptick from $959.859 billion in August.  However, the annual spending is down 4.6 percent from $1.008 trillion in September of last  year.  YTD spending is also 4.6 percent lower, $722.742 billion verses $757.268 billion for the same period in 2018.  Non-adjusted private sector spending in September was $84.347 billion compared to $85.889 billion in August.

Residential spending managed an 0.6 percent gain in September, a seasonally adjusted $511.419 billion compare to $508.449 in August.  However, that spending was down 3.6 percent compared to September 2018.  Before seasonally adjustment $45.498 was spent during the month compared to $47.139 billion the previous month.

New single-family construction was put in place at an annual rate of $274.612 billion, a monthly gain of 1.3 percent while multifamily spending fell 0.7 percent. Their positions were reversed however when it come to comparisons with September 2018. Single-family construction was down 4.9 percent while the seasonally adjusted $61.533 billion spent on multifamily construction represented an 0.9 percent annual gain.

Private residential spending is clearly lagging on a YTD basis. All such expenditures totaled 413,328 through the end of September last year but have reached only $380.707 billion thus far in 2019, a 7.9 percent retraction.  Single-family spending is down even further, by 8.0 percent, falling to $200.994 billion, more than an $18 billion deficit. Multifamily spending was up, rising from $44.363 billion, to $46.996 billion, a 5.9 percent gain.

Public spending grew by 1.5 percent from August and 6.6 percent year-over-year on a seasonally adjusted basis. Residential spending is up 4.6 percent on an annual basis as it has been trending higher since May, however it has not caught up with spending last  year and is down 6.8 percent YTD.   Non-residential spending was down 0.7 percent from August but is 4.6 percent higher annually.  YTD non-residential spending is up 5.8 percent, and of the 12 categories of non-residential construction, only one, healthcare construction, has not risen compared to the first nine months of 2018.