Economy Watch: Construction Spending Edged Up in February

A considerable drop in public construction spending brought down the overall increase for the month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Monthly Construction Spending, February 2018

U.S. construction spending during February 2018 increased by a modest 0.1 percent compared with January, the Census Bureau reported on Monday. The February figure is also 3 percent above the February 2017 estimate for construction spending on public and private projects combined.

Private construction spending increased by 0.7 percent for the month in February, and was up 3.4 percent for the year. Public construction spending, by contrast, dropped for the month by a considerable 2.1 percent. Even so, spending on public construction projects was up 1.6 percent for the year.

Total spending on residential construction gained only 0.1 percent for the month, but was up 5.4 percent for the year. Spending on new single-family projects drove most of the annual increase, rising 9.5 percent for the year. Spending on new multifamily projects was up only 0.9 percent compared with a year ago.

In the nonresidential sector, lodging enjoyed an annual increase in construction spending of 12.5 percent, and a monthly increase of 2.7 percent. “Commercial,” which according to the Census Bureau includes industrial projects, saw an annual increase of 7.6 percent for the year and 1.2 percent for the month. Spending on office projects spiked 6.5 percent for the month, but grew more modestly for the year at 2.1 percent.