Construction spending in the U.S. hit a record high to start 2020. Total construction spending improved 1.8% in January from the revised December data, according to a Census Bureau release earlier this week. The increase is the most in roughly two years, and the $1.369 trillion is a record high. Spending is also 6.8% higher in January than it was in January 2019.
"Mild weather and low rates are giving construction a boost," according to Wells Fargo Securities' release. "However, the coronavirus may soon push up material prices and hamper activity. … Supply chain disruptions stemming from COVID-19 may exert upward pressure on a wide array of imported materials prices, ranging from steel and cement to fixtures and furnishings."
Private spending jumped 1.5% from December, boosted by residential construction's 2.1% uptick. Nonresidential spending also improved, albeit at a slower rate of 0.8%. Meanwhile, public construction spending increased 2.6% in January, led by highway construction, which was up 5.4% in January.
-Michael Miller, managing editor