ABC report: Construction ‘in its own recession’

by Wally Northway

Published: October 4,2010

Tags: building, construction, economy

In a sign that the construction industry is mired in its own recession, private nonresidential construction spending slipped 1.4 percent in August, according to the Oct. 1 report by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In addition, private nonresidential construction spending is down 24.2 percent compared to the same time last year.

However, total nonresidential construction spending – which includes both privately and publicly financed construction – was up 0.6 percent for the month but down 13.6 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Total nonresidential construction spending in August now stands at $562.7 billion.

Of the eight nonresidential subsectors posting spending declines in August, power construction was down 2.6 percent; commercial construction dropped 2.2 percent; and communication construction fell 1.8 percent. However, on a year-over-year basis, lodging construction is down 52.0 percent; manufacturing construction is down 35.4 percent; and office construction is down 31.4 percent.

In contrast, eight of the 16 nonresidential construction subsectors posting increases in spending for the month include highway and street, up 5.1 percent; amusement and recreation, up 4.3 percent; and sewage and waste disposal construction, up 4.3 percent. Four subsectors had increases in construction spending compared to August 2009 including conservation and development, up 18.3 percent; sewage and waste disposal, up 18.1 percent; and water supply construction up 7.4 percent.

Meanwhile, residential construction spending was flat in August and down 0.6 percent year-over-year. Total construction spending – which includes both residential and nonresidential construction – edged up 0.4 percent in August, but is down 10 percent from the same time last year.

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