Construction spending flat in Jan. as nonresidential wipes out housing gains

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U.S. construction spending was flat in January as a dip in nonresidential spending wiped out a slight increase from home construction.

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.26 trillion, total U.S. construction spending remains 3.2 percent above the January 2017 rate, according to the Commerce Department.

Spending from private homebuilders, which includes renovations and improvements, rose 0.3 percent during the month to a rate of $523 billion. Spending on single-family homes rose 0.6 percent to $277.7 billion and is now nearly 9 percent higher than the January 2017 rate. Multi-family spending fell 1.3 percent to a rate of $61 billion and is 2.4 percent below the year-ago rate.

Total private residential spending is 4.2 percent above the January 2017 rate.

Total nonresidential construction spending fell 0.1 percent during the month to $733 billion, but remains 2.4 percent higher than the year-ago rate. Top percentage declines were power, down 6.7 percent to a rate of $93.6 billion; water supply, down 4.4 percent to $11.4 billion; and conservation and development, down 3.3 percent to $7.3 billion. Top percentage increases were public safety, up 7.1 percent to $10 billion; communication, up 5.3 percent to $25 billion; and highway and street, up 4.4 percent to $93 billion.

Spending on highway and street construction is up 3.8 percent over the January 2017 figure.

Total private sector spending on construction fell 0.5 percent during January to a rate of $962.7 billion, while government spending rose 1.8 percent to $300 billion. Private and government spending are up 1.7 percent and 8.2 percent over their year-ago rates, respectively.