Nonresidential construction spending falls 1.6 percent in February

Total nonresidential construction spending fell 1.6 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $555.4 billion, according to the April 2 report by the United States Census Bureau. However, total nonresidential construction spending is up 6.4 percent from one year ago.

Private nonresidential construction spending decreased 1.6 percent for the month, but is up 14.5 percent year over year. Public nonresidential construction spending fell 1.7 percent for the month and is down 0.7 percent compared to February 2011.

Twelve of the sixteen nonresidential construction subsectors experienced decreases in spending for the month, including amusement and recreation, down 3.9 percent; lodging, 3.2 percent lower; water supply, down 2.8 percent; highway and street, down 2.7 percent; and commercial, 2.6 percent lower. Subsectors posting the largest decreases in year-over-year spending include conservation and development, down 24.6 percent; lodging, 9.4 percent lower; religious, down 9.4 percent; water supply, down 7 percent; and transportation, down 5.5 percent.

In contrast, four of the sixteen nonresidential construction subsectors posted increases for the month, including religious, up 2.7 percent; manufacturing, 2.2 percent higher; public safety, up 0.9 percent; and sewage and waste disposal, up 0.5 percent. Eight subsectors have experienced gains in spending during the past twelve months, including manufacturing, up 40.3 percent; power, 22.1 percent higher; public safety, up 11.4 percent; health care, 7.7 percent higher; and commercial, up 5 percent.

Residential construction spending was unchanged for the month and is 4.6 percent higher compared to the same time last year. Overall, total construction spending – which includes both nonresidential and residential – was down 1.1 percent in for the month, but is 5.8 percent higher than February 2011.