by Bill McBride on 1/02/2013
In November 2012, private residential construction spending was the largest category for the first time since 2007 – but spending is still very low (at 1998 levels not adjusted for inflation). Note: Residential construction is usually the largest category for construction spending, but there was a huge collapse in spending following the housing bubble (as expected).
The Census Bureau reported that overall construction spending decreased in November:
The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced today that construction spending during November 2012 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $866.0 billion, 0.3 percent below the revised October estimate of $868.2 billion. The November figure is 7.7 percent above the November 2011 estimate of $804.0 billion.
Private residential construction spending increased, but both private non-residential and public construction spending declined:
Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $589.8 billion, 0.2 percent below the revised October estimate of $590.8 billion. Residential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $295.3 billion in November, 0.4 percent above the revised October estimate of $294.2 billion. Nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $294.5 billion in November, 0.7 percent below the revised October estimate of $296.5 billion. … In November, the estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending was $276.2 billion, 0.4 percent below the revised October estimate of $277.4 billion.
This graph shows private residential and nonresidential construction spending, and public spending, since 1993. Note: nominal dollars, not inflation adjusted.
Private residential spending is 56% below the peak in early 2006, and up 33% from the post-bubble low. Non-residential spending is 29% below the peak in January 2008, and up about 30% from the recent low.
Public construction spending is now 15% below the peak in March 2009 and just above the post-bubble low.
On a year-over-year basis, private residential construction spending is now up 19%. Non-residential spending is up 8% year-over-year mostly due to energy spending (power and electric). Public spending is down 3% year-over-year.