Down, down, down. Total construction spending slipped again in November, declining 0.6% compared to the previous month to a seasonally adjusted rate of $1.08 trillion, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. That level represents a 3.3% reduction on an annual basis, a number which, not surprisingly, is far worse for year-over-year comparisons to 2007 for residential and single-family activity.
Overall, private residential construction took a 4.2% hit in November compared to October, arriving at a seasonally adjusted spending rate of $328.3 billion. Year-over-year, the comparison paints a darker picture, with November activity standing 23.4% below the same month a year earlier.
Much of those cuts are coming from home builders, who are cutting production as they struggle against an overwhelming glut of unsold new and existing homes. Construction spending for new single-family homes fell 6.6% on a monthly basis in November to a seasonally adjusted rate of $151.2 billion. Year-over-year, that represents a 41.9% drop in such activity.
Multifamily builders are also seeing declines. Private multifamily construction spending ticked downward by 1.8% on a monthly basis in November to a seasonally adjusted level of $43.5 billion. That translates into a decline of 2.6% for this particular housing sector compared to the same month a year before.
Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.