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Construction spending remained virtually unchanged from July to August at $1.142 billion, according to new data from the Associated General Contractors of America. However, on a year-to-date measurement, there was a 4.9 percent increase from January to August 2016 versus the same period last year.
Private residential construction spending dipped by 0.3 percent between July and August, but it was up 1.4 percent on a year-to-date scale. Spending on multifamily residential construction increased by 2.4 percent for the month and was 13.9 percent year-to-date, while single-family spending fell 0.9 percent from July to August and fell 1.5 percent on a year-to-date scale.
Private nonresidential construction spending was down 0.4 percent for the month but was up 4.2 percent year-to-date. Commercial construction—which covers retail, warehouse and farm for this data repot—fell by two percent in August but shot up 6.9 percent year-to-date, while private office construction climbed 2.3 percent for the month and skyrocketed by 28 percent year-to-date.
“While demand for construction remains robust, it is no longer growing like it was earlier this year,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “There is little doubt that new public-sector investments in our aging infrastructure could help reinvigorate demand for construction.”
Separately, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) observed October’s designation as Careers in Construction Month by in October highlighting residential construction as a great job opportunity. The NAHB also noted there were plenty of openings: the association’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data found 214,000 open construction sector jobs in July, the second highest monthly count of unfilled jobs since May 2007.
“Residential construction offers a number of fulfilling career opportunities, from architects and engineers to carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters and landscapers,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady, a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. “Yet, our builders are telling us that access to skilled labor remains a top challenge.”