Earlier today, the Census Bureau reported that overall construction spending decreased 1.8% in April compared to March:
The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced today that construction spending during April 2016 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,133.9 billion, 1.8 percent below the revised March estimate of $1,155.1 billion. The April figure is 4.5 percent above the April 2015 estimate of $1,085.0 billion.
Private and public spending decreased in April:
Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $843.1 billion, 1.5 percent below the revised March estimate of $855.9 billion …
In April, the estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending was $290.8 billion, 2.8 percent below the revised March estimate of $299.2 billion
This graph shows private residential and nonresidential construction spending, and public spending, since 1993. Note: nominal dollars, not inflation adjusted.
Private residential spending has been increasing, but is 35% below the bubble peak.
Non-residential spending is only 3% below the peak in January 2008 (nominal dollars).
Public construction spending is now 11% below the peak in March 2009.
On a year-over-year basis, private residential construction spending is up 8%. Non-residential spending is up 3% year-over-year. Public spending is up 1% year-over-year.
Looking forward, all categories of construction spending should increase in 2016. Residential spending is still very low, non-residential is increasing (except oil and gas), and public spending is also increasing after several years of austerity.
This was well below the consensus forecast of a 0.6% increase for April, however construction spending for February and March were revised up.