Construction Spending Sees Biggest Drop in 14 Years, Residential Building Falls in January

Washington, D.C.–Construction spending plummeted at the most severe rate in 14 years in January, the Commerce Department said Monday.Total construction spending fell by 1.7 percent–its fourth decline in a row–at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.121 trillion, according to The Wall Street Journal. The government also adjusted its December spending results from an estimated 1.1 percent drop to 1.3 percent.In January, residential building spending declined 2.9 percent to $462.8 billion. Revised December data showed building fell by 2.5 percent; the original estimate was 2.7 percent.Residential construction was 19.4 percent lower in January than in January 2007. Nonresidential construction spending also fell 0.8 percent.Other results released Monday included a decline in the employment index, which registered at 46–a drop from the previous month’s reading of 47.1. The index of manufacturing activity also dropped from 50.7 in January to 48.3 in February.