While overall construction spending fell in August, both public and private spending on residential construction increased during the month. The Census Bureau reported this morning that construction spending in all categories was down 0.6 percent from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $837.1 billion. The July construction spending estimate was revised substantially upward to $842.0 billion from the original estimate of $834.4 billion. The August number was 6.5 percent higher than the $786.3 billion annual rate one year earlier.
Private construction spending was at an annual rate of $562.2 billion, down from 564.8 billion in July, a -0.5 change. Private residential construction spending was at a rate of 273.5 billion, up 0.9 percent from July and 17.8 percent from August, 2011. Residential construction numbers for July were originally reported at $264.62 billion, a number we questioned at the time. The July estimate has now been revised to $271.1 billion.
In the private sector, spending was up for both single family and multi-family construction. Single-family spending was estimated at $131.2 billion compared to $127.6 billion in July, a 2.8 percent increase, and $108.6 billion in August 2011, a 20.8 percent improvement. The July single-family number was revised upward slightly from $127.45 as earlier reported.
Multi-family spending was at an annual rate of 23.1 billion, up from 22.3 billion month-over-month and 15.9 billion year-over year. The latter was a 44.8 percent increase.
In the public sector total construction was down 0.8 percent to $274.9 billion compared to $277.2 billion in July and $284.8 billion a year earlier. Residential construction was at a rate of 6.4 billion, 1.2 percent higher than in July but a -27.7 percent downturn year-over-year.