Economy Watch: Service Sector Revenues Off in Q1

The Census Bureau's estimated first-quarter revenue totals showed an overall drop or minimal growth in most service sectors.

The Census Bureau released estimated first-quarter revenue totals for various service sectors of the economy on Wednesday, and for the most part revenue dropped, or at least didn’t grow very much quarter-over-quarter. All together, the service sector suffered a 1.2 percent decrease in revenue in first-quarter 2016, compared with the previous quarter, but was up 3.6 percent year-over-year.

The bureau report that U.S. real estate and rental and leasing revenue for the first quarter of 2016 was $152.5 billion, a decrease of 4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015, but up 9.9 percent from the first quarter of 2015. The numbers aren’t adjusted for seasonal variation or price changes.

In professional, scientific and technical services, which tends to affect office space demand, revenue was actually up for the quarter by 3.1 percent, and up 5.9 percent for the year. Finance and insurance, another sector that impacts office space, eked out a 0.4 percent revenue increase for the quarter, and year-over-year was up 3.1 percent.

On the other hand, transportation and warehousing, which affects industrial space demand, suffered a 4.8 percent drop for the quarter, and a small loss—0.1 percent —for the year. Accommodation (the hotel industry) saw a revenue drop for the first time in a while, off 1.5 percent for the quarter; year-over-year, revenues were up 1 percent.