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October Construction Spending Spikes to Highest Levels in Four Years
AGC of America / December 2, 2013
An unusual surge in public construction in October pushed total construction spending to its highest level since May 2009 despite a dip in both private residential and nonresidential activity, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials urged lawmakers in Washington to make water and surface transportation investment a top federal priority.
“Nearly every category of public construction increased in October, according to the preliminary Census figures, although for the first 10 months of 2013 combined, public spending continues to lag the 2012 year-to-date total,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Meanwhile, residential spending slipped for the month but still showed strong year-to-date gains, and nonresidential spending remained stuck in neutral.”
Construction put in place in October totaled $908 billion, 0.8 percent higher than in September. But figures for August and July were revised down below levels that initially exceeded the current October estimate. The total for the first 10 months of 2013 was 5.0 percent above the year-to-date mark for the same months in 2012.
Public construction spending jumped 3.9 percent for the month but trailed the 2012 year-to-date total by 2.8 percent. The two largest public components were mixed: highway and street construction increased 0.6 percent in October and 0.3 percent year-to-date, while educational construction leaped 8.5 percent for the month but fell 8.5 percent year-to-date, Simonson said.