April turned out to be a solid month for construction.  The Census Bureau said that dollar value of new construction activity on residential, non-residential, and public projects was at a seasonally adjusted and annual total of $1.31 trillion.  This represented a 1.8 percent increase from March's total of 1.29 trillion and was 7.6 percent higher than the $1.22 trillion rate in April 2017. 

The result was better than anticipated.  Analysts polled by Econoday had expected the numbers to improve from the 1.7 percent decline in March but were looking at a consensus estimate of 0.8 percent. The range of estimates was 0.5 to 2.0 percent.

On a non-adjusted basis, the total spent during the month was $106.74 billion compared to $99.99 billion in March.  Spending for the first four months of 2018 totaled $387.0 billion, a 6.6 percent increase from the same period last year.

Privately funded construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.01 trillion, a 2.8 percent gain from March, and up 7.6 percent from the previous April.  On a non-adjusted basis there was $84.04 billion in construction put in place compared to 78.88 billion in March.  Through the end of April private construction totaled $305.27 billion, a 6.3 percent increase.

Residential spending is the largest component of private construction.   Spending there was up 4.5 percent from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $556.30 billion, 9.5 percent higher than spending in April 2017.  Single-family construction was at a rate of $285.70 billion, unchanged from March but up 9.6 percent year-over-year.  Multifamily construction spending rose 3.6 percent for the month but was 4.0 lower than a year earlier.

On a non-adjusted basis there was $46.61 billion spent on residential construction during the month compared to $42.90 billion in March.  Year-to-date spending was up 8.6 percent at $150.46 billion.  Single-family spending is running 10.4 percent ahead of last year through April and multi-family was down 3.9 percent.

Public construction spending slowed by 1.3 percent from March at $296.12 billion but was 7.7 percent higher year-over-year. The residential component was down 0.2 percent to an annual rate of $7.14 billion but is 26.4 percent greater than last year.  That spending is also 7.5 percent higher across the first four months of 2018.