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Construction Spending Falls Slightly in September

http://www.enr.com/articles/40832-construction-spending-falls-slightly-in-september

Silver lining is 4.4% year-over-year gain for first nine months

Construction spending in September edged down to a seasonally adjusted $1.15-trillion annual rate, 0.4% less than August’s level and an 0.2% dip year over year, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported.

The bureau’s latest monthly report on construction put in place, released on Nov. 1, also had some positive news:  spending for the first nine months of 2016 climbed 4.4% from the same period last year, to $863.2 billion, not adjusted for seasonal variations.

Residential was a modestly bright spot in September, as spending rose 0.4% month-to-month and 0.6% from the year-earlier level, to a rate of $459.5 billion, said the Census Bureau, which is part of the Dept. of Commerce.

September nonresidential construction declined 0.9% from August and 0.7% from September 2015’s mark, to a $690.5-billion annual rate, seasonally adjusted.

Only five of the 16 nonresidential segments recorded monthly gains in September. One major sector showing an uptick was educational facilities, which rose a slight 0.3%, to an $87.1-billion rate. It also was up 3.3% compared with September 2015

The nonresidential segment posting the largest month-to-month decline was sewage and waste disposal, which was off 5.4%, to $19.7 billion.

Just five of the nonresidential categories notched year-over-year gains. Commercial projects led the way, surging 23%, to a $71.8-billion annual rate. Lodging was up a strong 19.9% to $28.8 billion.

Of the 11 categories that were down from September 2015 levels, five recorded double-digit declines: sewage and waste disposal, water supply, public safety, communication and transportation.

Looking at the numbers from a different perspective, the Census Bureau reported that September’s total private construction dipped 0.2% from August but went up 2.4% from the year-earlier level, to $879.7 billion. But public construction fell 0.9% from August and 7.8% year over year, to $270.3 billion.