Economy Watch: Solid Construction Spending for Offices, Hotels

Spending on U.S. construction projects was higher this July than last, largely due to growth in the private sector.

U.S. construction spending during July 2016 came in at an annualized rate of $1,153.2 billion, nearly the same as the revised June estimate, which was $1,153.5 billion, the Census Bureau reported ahead of the Labor Day holiday. Even so, the July 2016 figure is 1.5 percent higher than the July 2015 construction spending total.

Such growth as there was in July was due to spending on private construction projects, which was up 1 percent compared to the revised June total. Public construction spending, by contrast, was down for the month by 3.1 percent. For the year, private construction spending gained 4.4 percent, while public spending dropped 6.5 percent.

In the private sector, residential construction spending was up 1.9 percent for the year, with multifamily construction leading the way with a gain of 19.8 percent (though the volatile sector dropped 0.6 percent for the month). The more stable single-family housing sector saw construction spending rise 1.7 percent year-over-year, but fall 0.2 percent for the month.

In the private non-residential sector, spending on office projects—the strongest property type in terms of construction spending—gained 30.3 percent for the year and 4.6 percent for the month. Spending on lodging likewise was significantly up for the year as demand for new hotels and motels grew, up 28 percent, but down 1.2 percent for the month.