Total construction spending fell in March from February levels and remained only slightly higher than one year earlier the Census Bureau said today.  Overall spending was down 0.6 percent on a month-over-month basis to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $966.6 billion from $972.9 billion.  The March rate was 2.0 percent higher than the revised $947.3 billion rate in March 2014.

On an unadjusted basis total spending in March was estimated at $72.7 billion compared to $66.51 billion in February.  Year-to-date expenses through the end of March were $206.71 billion an increase of 32 percent from the 200.37 billion spent during the same period in 2014.

Total construction spending in the private sector was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $702.39 billion, down 0.3 percent from February's $704.67 billion but 2.9 percent above the rate of $682.33 billion in March 2014.  On an unadjusted basis private construction put in place in March was estimated to have a value of $54.61 billion.  Year-to-date expenditures total $154.77 billion, an increase of 3.7 percent from the first three months of 2014.

Private sector residential spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $348.95 billion, down for both the month and year by 1.6 percent and 2.6 percent respectively.  Single-family construction totaled $200.76 billion on an annual basis, down 1.8 percent from February but 7.8 percent higher than in March 2014.  Spending on multi-family units was estimated at $40.19 billion, a 2.1 percent monthly decline from but up 23.4 percent compared to March 2014. 

On a non-adjusted basis total residential spending was $26.82 billion, up from $23.40 billion in February and year-to-date spending increased by 0.9 percent.  Year-to-date spending for single family construction was 10.2 percent higher than last year and multi-family spending increased by 27.1 percent.

Total public construction was estimated at $264.17 billion, down 1.5 percent on a monthly basis and 0.3 percent year-over-year.  Residential spending in the sector was at a rate of $5.79 billion, a 0.9 percent decrease from February but 16.5 percent higher than in March 2014.