Bolstered by Public Projects, October Construction Spending Rises to Highest Level Since 2009

Construction spending in October rose by roughly 0.8% over September levels of $901.2 billion, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $908.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today [file opens in PDF]. This represented an increase of a little more than $45 billion, or 5.3%, over the $863.1 billion annual rate reported in October of 2012. The $908.4 billion was the highest seasonally adjusted annual rate since the $911.2 billion reported in May of 2009.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Through the first 10 months of 2013, total construction spending stands at $747 billion, an increase of 5% over the $711.7 billion that was recorded through October of 2012.

The biggest boost in spending among the three distinct sectors of public construction, private residential construction, and private nonresidential construction, came from public (government) construction, which rose almost 4% over the September rate, to $282.7 billion on an annualized basis in October. Private residential and private nonresidential spending fell by 0.6% and 0.5%, respectively, relative to September levels.

Although it fell when compared to September, private residential construction stood at an annualized rate of $326.8 billion in October, which represents an improvement of almost 18% relative to the $277.4 billion posted in October of last year:


Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

The total spending from each of the sectors over the past year is available in the chart below. The numbers are annual rates.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau

As can be seen, the largest contributor to the growth seen in total construction spending was the major increase in private residential construction. While nonresidential spending is down both year over year and month over month, it is 5.5% above levels seen in January of this year. 

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