Construction spending tipped up slightly in March, gaining 0.1% from February and up 6.0% from the previous year, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Better still, once estimates for improvements—a poorly measured category—are subtracted, March’s monthly gain rises to 0.7%.
While private residential construction was up 0.7% (up 2.9% when improvements are subtracted), the single-family home sector shot ahead with a gain of 3.8%. Multifamily spending declined by 3.1%, although the drop is most likely a blip caused by the more dramatic swings in multifamily data.
While private nonresidential spending also improved by 0.7% for the month, that sector’s first quarter results, at an annual growth rate of 3.7%, were dramatically slower than recent quarters. Public construction also declined 1.1% for the month.
Despite the higher numbers on the home building front, the good news may not last, wrote Patrick Newport, U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight, in a note today. "The first quarter numbers were boosted by weather. This implies payback in April and May."
To see the Census Bureau’s full release discussing the numbers, click here.
Claire Easley is a senior editor at Builder.
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