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Spending on Nonresidential Projects Falls for Third Month

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WASHINGTON — U.S. builders spent more on home construction in September but less on nonresidential building and government projects.

Activity remains at roughly half the level considered healthy.

Construction spending grew 0.6 percent compared to August when spending had fallen 0.1 percent, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

The strength in September came from a 2.8 percent rise in homebuilding. Spending on commercial projects such as office buildings and shopping centers fell 0.1 percent and spending on government projects was down 0.8 percent, the third monthly decline.

The September increase pushed construction spending to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $851.6 billion, 14.1 percent higher than a 12-year low hit in February 2011.

Spending on residential construction climbed to an annual rate of $285.9 billion in September, up 20.9 percent from a year ago. Single-family construction, the biggest part of the market, was up 25.7 percent over the past year while apartment construction was up 48.9 percent.

That strength stood in contrast to spending on commercial projects such as office buildings, shopping centers and hotels, which was down 0.1 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $294.6 billion. Spending on office buildings, shopping centers and hotels all fell in September.

Spending on government projects dropped for a third month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $271.1 billion, 4.2 percent lower than a year ago. That reflects the budget squeeze being felt at all levels of government.
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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