U.S. public construction spending hits 24-year low as % of GDP

Updated Aug 12, 2017


Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and represented in graph form by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis show public construction spending in the country hit a 24-year low in the second quarter of this year, reaching 1.42 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

This is the second quarter of decline in spending relative to GDP, but is part of a longer trend dating back to the second quarter of 2009, when spending reached its highest point of 2.22 percent of GDP.

The Census Bureau’s Value of Construction Put in Place (VIP) survey, shows the seasonally adjusted annual rate of U.S. public construction spending for Highways and Streets was $82.44 billion for June this year, a 6.6 percent drop from May and an 8.1 percent decrease from the same month in 2016.

The monthly rate not seasonally adjusted was $8.17 billion, an increase from May’s $7.69 billion. However, the year-to-date spending rate through June dropped 3.7 percent compared to 2016, at $35.99 billion.

The VIP survey includes construction on new structures or improvements to existing structures for private and public sectors and includes cost of labor and materials, architectural and engineering work, overhead, interest and taxes and contractor profits.