Construction Spending Increases for Fifth Straight Month

Feb. 2, 2018

A strong end to the 2017 construction spending cycle could pave the way for a positive 2018. Total construction spending increased 0.7% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.25 trillion. That’s 2.6% ahead of December 2016. December 2017 was the fifth straight month of construction spending increases.

“Total construction spending rose 3.8% in 2017, as public outlays declined annually for the second year. Recent months have shown stronger momentum heading into 2018,” said a report from Wells Fargo Securities. Despite a tiny slip from November to December, transportation spending was up almost 13% from December 2016, far ahead of the other nonresidential factors contributing to total construction spending. Private transportation spending was up 36% in December.

Total private construction outlays edged upward slightly as did residential construction. Nonresidential construction spending increased in December as well. Private construction value was almost 6% better in 2017 compared to 2016. Residential construction value stood out at more than 10% ahead of 2016, and nonresidential construction showed a modest gain.

Public construction spending in December did not see as solid a growth as private. Public spending increased 0.3% in December. Educational spending was 1.6% above November’s revised data, and highway construction also had a small jump. The value of public construction decreased 2.5% in 2017, but educational construction was ahead 2.5%.

-Michael Miller, associate editor

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