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Construction Spending Up Slightly

Phil Hall
Feb 01, 2019
Construction industry executives expressed optimism about the year ahead in the 43rd annual Wells Fargo Construction Industry Forecast

Construction spending during November was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.29 trillion, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This represents a 0.8 percent uptick from the revised October estimate of $1.28 trillion billion and a 3.4 percent increase from the November 2017 estimate of $1,257.3 billion. During the first eleven months of 2018, construction spending was 4.5 percent above the same period in 2017.
During November, residential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $542.5 billion, 3.5 percent (±1.3 percent) above the revised October estimate of $524.2 billion. Nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $450.8 billion, a 1.2 percent drop from the revised October estimate of $456.1 billion. Spending on private construction as a whole was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $993.4 billion, 1.3 percent above the revised October estimate of $980.4 billion.
Separately, the Associated Builders and Contractors reported unadjusted construction unemployment rates fell nationally and in 44 states on a year-over-year basis in December, down 0.8 percent from one year earlier to 5.1 percent. The construction industry employed 283,000 more workers nationally compared to December 2017.
“While the December construction employment numbers do not capture the effects of the government shutdown, the healthy data continues to suggest the construction industry is still doing well,” said Bernard M. Markstein, President and Chief Economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the data analysis. “Unemployment rates were lower compared to a year ago in 44 states, higher in four states and unchanged in two—Louisiana and Mississippi. The country and 29 of the states posted their lowest December construction unemployment rates on record. In addition, this is the first December on record when all state unemployment rates except for Alaska’s were below 10 percent.”

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