Construction spending up in the US

More good news for the US economy as construction spending in September climbed to an almost three-year high to reach an annual rate of $852 billion.


Despite the downturn in public construction this past year has seen an increase in spending on houses, apartments and private non-residential projects. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, this spending outstripped the reduction in public construction. And the firm predicts that this trend will continue despite the disruption caused by Hurricane Sandy.


Total construction spending in September rose by 0.6 percent and 7.8 percent for the year from September 2011, resulting in the highest rate since October 2009. The overall figures are comforting with private residential spending accelerating at 21 percent over the last year and private non-residential construction up 8.8 percent. Public construction contracted by 4.2 percent year-over-year.


Within the private sector new multi-family construction saw the biggest increases in spending followed closely by new single-family construction and then improvements to existing residential structures. This latter group is expected to get a huge boost from the storm reconstructions, which are already underway in New Jersey and New York.


Meanwhile construction employers in the US added 17,000 jobs in October pushing the industry’s unemployment rate down to 11.4 percent. Despite the good news overall construction employment is still down by 2.2 million compared to its peak six years ago at 7.7 million workers.


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