December expenditures for construction posted a small gain in December, rising a scant 0.4 percent over November figures.  The Census Bureau said today that spending on both public and private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $982.1 billion compared to $978.6 billion the previous month.  The figure represented a 2.2 percent gain from December 2013.

Public and private residential spending was at a rate of $355.01 billion, also a 0.3 percent month-over-month increase but down 3.9 percent from the previous year.  Residential spending, however, was one of the few bright spots for the month with most other categories of spending, both public and private, posting slightly negative numbers.

Total private sector spending was at a seasonally adjusted rate of $698.55 billion compared to $698.20 billion in November and $695.44 billion a year earlier.  These were minimal gains of 0.1 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.

Private expenditures of residential construction rose 0.3 percent compared to November to a seasonally adjusted rate of $349.56 billion, down 4.0 percent from the previous December.  Of that total 202.47 billion was for single family housing, up 1.2 percent for the month and 11.0 percent for the year.  Spending for multi-family units increased by 0.3 percent month-over-month and 26.8 percent on an annual basis to $46.56 billion.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis construction spending in the residential sector totaled $26.12 billion, $14.86 billion of which was for single family housing.

Total public spending on construction was at the rate of $283.5 billion, up 1.1 percent from November and 6.7 percent from a year earlier.  Residential spending was $5.4 billion, an increase of 2.3 percent and 3.2 percent respectively.

The Bureau reports that total construction spending for 2014 increased by 5.6 percent over 2013 spending.  Private construction rose 7.2 percent and residential spending was up 4.1 percent.  Spending on new single family construction improved by 12.1 percent and new multifamily construction spending by 34.0 percent.