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Nonresidential Construction Spending Slips to Start 2017
Published Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Nonresidential construction spending fell 1.9 percent from December to January to $698.4 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis, according to analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). This represents the first month total spending dipped below $700 billion since July 2016.

“For several years, public funding for construction activity has been flat and erratic," says Anirban Basu, chief economist of ABC.

Despite the monthly setback, year-over-year progress remains intact, with nonresidential spending increasing 1.5 percent since January 2016. However, in real terms, that represents virtually nonexistent growth. Private nonresidential spending remained unchanged for the month, while public sector spending plunged 4.7 percent. The greatest loss in spending volume occurred in the public safety, water supply and conservation and development segments.

“Private construction spending was also soft in January, but the outlook remains upbeat,” says Basu. “Corporate confidence is high, architects became much busier during the period immediately following the presidential election, and capital from banks and other sources should be broadly available to developers during the year ahead.”


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