The Census Bureau said this morning that construction spending in the U.S. dipped slightly in January but was well above outlays a year earlier.  Spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $827.0 billion, 0.1 percent below the revised December figure of $827.6 billion.  Spending was 7.1 percent above the January 2011 estimate of $772.0 billion.

Private construction spending during January was at an annual rate of $538.7 billion, nearly identical to the December figure.  Private spending a year earlier was at a rate of $482,099 billion so the new figures represent an 11.7 percent increase.

Private residential construction was at a rate of $253,639 billion compared to $249,196 billion in December and $237,643 billion in January of 2011.  These were increases of 1.8 percent and 6.7 percent respectively.

Total public construction in January was $288,331 billion annualized, down 0.2 percent from $288,956 in December.  One year earlier public construction totaled $289,883 billion, 0.5 percent above the current level.  Public residential construction in January was at a rate of $510 billion, down from $588 billion in December and $696 billion one year ago.

This is the first pause in which has been considerable growth in construction since a dip in July.  Since then spending has risen from $773,296 to $827,001 billion.  The increase has been driven almost entirely by growth in the private sector which has also risen every month since July.  The growth of public spending has far less even, alternatively expanding and contracting every month from 277,345 in July to its present level.

Construction Spending