ABC: September's nonresidential spending retains momentum in October

Spending increased in 10 of 16 nonresidential construction sectors on a monthly basis.

December 01, 2015 |
ABC: September's nonresidential spending retains momentum in October

Photo: Anders Lejczak/Creative Commons.

Nonresidential construction spending expanded in October for the third consecutive month (September's estimate was revised higher than August's) according to analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data released by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today. Nonresidential construction spending totaled $701.8 billion in October on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, a 1% increase on a monthly basis and an 11% increase on a yearly basis.

Private sector nonresidential construction spending added 0.6% for the month, reaching a total of $403.4 billion. Nonresidential spending in the public sector gained 1.4% from September, totaling $298.4 billion.

"The data tell a simple story: October was a strong month for nonresidential construction spending," said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. "Interestingly, in October, publicly financed construction spending expanded more rapidly than private construction spending, representing a stark reversal from prior years when construction's recovery was motivated almost exclusively by private spending growth. There is reason to believe that public finances will continue to improve, which should help bolster nonresidential construction's fortunes into 2016.

"Construction spending continues to be supported by ongoing improvement in state and local government finances, inexpensive money, availability of both debt and equity to finance projects, growing demand for office and other forms of space, and added levels of confidence among key economic actors," Basu said.

Spending increased in 10 of 16 nonresidential construction sectors on a monthly basis in October:

  • Public safety-related spending expanded by 15.7% for the month but fell by 2.2% from October 2014.
  • Conservation and development-related spending gained 12.2% on a monthly basis and 9.6% on a yearly basis.
  • Spending in the communication category increased by 7.3% since September 2015 and 19.2% since October 2014.
  • Manufacturing-related spending expanded by 3% month-over-month and 40.5% year-over-year.
  • Spending the water supply category grew by 2.4% for the month and 4.6% since the same time last year.
  • Health care-related spending grew 1.3% from September and 6.1% from October of last year.
  • Highway and street-related spending expanded by 1.1% on a monthly basis and 6% on a yearly basis.
  • Transportation-related spending grew 0.9% month-over-month and 4.2% year-over-year.
  • Office-related spending inched 0.5% higher on a monthly basis and 15.3% higher on a yearly basis.
  • Spending in the educational category expanded by 0.4% from September 2015 and 9.4% from October 2014.

Spending in six of the nonresidential construction subsectors fell in October on a monthly basis:

  • Spending in the amusement and recreation category fell by 0.3% for the month but increased by 24.1% on a yearly basis.
  • Lodging-related spending declined 0.4% on a monthly basis but gained 29.6% year-over-year.
  • Commercial-related spending dipped 0.5% from September 2015 and 2.2% from October 2014.
  • Spending in the sewage and waste disposal category fell 0.7% on a monthly basis but expanded by 6.2% on a yearly basis.
  • Power-related spending fell 1.9% for the month but is up 5.1% year-over-year.
  • Religious-related spending dipped 3.4% on a month-ago basis but is up 10.3% from the same time last year.

To view the previous spending report, click here.

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