Construction spending inched up in April, but the increase was tempered by a decline in publicly funded projects. The U.S. Census Bureau put the rate of seasonally adjusted annual spending during the month at $1.524 trillion, up 0.2 percent from the $1.521 trillion rate in March and 9.8 percent above spending in April 2020.
On a non-adjusted basis, total spending for the month was $123.483 billion compared to $118.037 billion in March. For the year-to-date (YTD) spending has reached $452.292 billion, a 5.8 percent increase from the $427.317 billion spent during the first four months of last year.
Total spending in the private sector was at an annual rate of $1.181 trillion compared to $1.175 trillion in March, an uptick of 0.4 percent. Spending in April 2020 was at a rate of $1.037 trillion, 13.9 percent lower than the current number.
Once again residential spending was the star, with spending up 1.0 percent from March and 29.7 percent year-over-year at an annual rate of $729.238 billion. Spending on single-family residences increased 1.3 percent and 39.6 percent from the two earlier periods to $396.315 billion while multifamily construction rose 1.9 percent from March to $98.460 billion, an annual increase of 27.1 percent.
Actual dollars expended during the month for all construction in the private sector was $97.078 billion and for the YTD, the total of $357.489 billion is 8.1 percent more than through the same period in 2020. Residential spending for the month was $59.802 billion including $32.382 billion for single family homes and $8.338 billion for multifamily construction. Spending in March was $57.511 billion, $31.036 billion, and $7.973 billion, respectively.
Thus far in 2021 the private sector has put $214.618 billion in residential construction in place, 21.9 percent more than during the same period last year. Single family spending for the year to date is up 30.3 percent to $116.029 billion and multifamily construction spending is 19.1 percent higher.
YTD spending elsewhere in the private sector was anemic, especially given that in April 2020 much of the country was in its second month of a lockdown. The residential sector was the only one in which spending in the first four months of this year was higher than the same period in 2020.
Publicly funded construction fell 0.6 percent from March to an annual rate of $343.504 billion and is 2.2 percent lower on an annual basis. Residential spending, at $8.747 billion, is down 3.8 percent for the month, but remains 15.8 percent higher year-over-year.
YTD public spending is $94.803 billion, 1.8 percent below the total through April 2020. Residential spending is up 15.7 percent for the first four months of the year.