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Commercial construction spending steadies

Private nonresidential construction spending was virtually unchanged in August, falling just 0.1 percent, according to the Oct. 1 report by the U.S. Census Bureau. However, compared to Aug. 2008, spending is down 10.5 percent.

Total nonresidential construction spending, that includes both private and public, slipped 0.4 percent from July, and is down 4.7 percent from Aug. 2008 to $684.5 billion. In addition, total nonresidential construction spending in June and July were revised downward, from $711 billion to $700 billion in June and from $703.8 billion to $687.6 billion in July.

Among 16 nonresidential construction subsectors, four posted increases in August with the biggest gains registered in manufacturing construction, up 5.1 percent, and conservation and development-related construction, up 2.5 percent. On a year-over-year basis, manufacturing construction is up 30.4 percent and power-related construction is 9.1 percent higher from August 2008.

Those subsectors with the largest losses from July were: water supply construction, down 5.5 percent; amusement and recreation construction, down 5.3 percent; public safety construction, down 3.7 percent; lodging, down 3.4 percent and office construction, down 2.7 percent. Compared to Aug. 2008, lodging is down 36.1 percent, commercial construction is 33.3 lower and office construction is down 22.3 percent.

In contrast, residential construction spending continues to expand, up 4.2 percent in August, but still down 26 percent from one year ago. Overall, total construction spending is up slightly, 0.8 percent at $941.9 billion, but still down from Aug. 2008 levels.

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