Construction spending fell 1.1% in February, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. However, once residential improvements (a poorly estimated category) are excluded, spending was down 1.5%. December’s and January’s estimates were also revised down. On an annual basis, spending improve 5.8%.
Spending on private residential projects was flat on a monthly basis; however, once improvements are subtracted spending for the category fell 1.0%. Private multifamily numbers improved on a monthly basis by 2.0%.
"The outlook for the single-family market this year is unclear," wrote Patrick Newport, U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight, in a statement regarding the numbers today. "This was a disappointing report. Spending levels were down for the second straight month despite an improving economy and mild weather. The construction numbers for 2011 were dismal—total spending was at its lowest level since 1999. But the numbers improved as the year went on. The improvements will extend on this year. Still, we are not expecting 2012 to be a much better year than 2011 for the construction industry."
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Claire Easley is a senior editor at Builder.
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