Economy Watch: Construction Spending Gains Ground

April saw a 1.8 percent month-over-month increase in construction spending, at an annualized rate of more than $1.3 trillion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Construction Spending in April 2018
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

U.S. construction spending during April came in at an annualized rate of $1.31 trillion, or 1.8 percent above the revised March total, the Census Bureau reported on Friday. The April 2018 figure is also 7.6 percent higher than the same month in 2017.

Spending on private construction projects led the way in April, increasing 2.8 percent from March, according to the bureau. For the year, the rise in private spending was 7.6 percent, the same as the overall rate. Spending on public construction projects dropped in April by 1.3 percent, but was up for the year by 7.7 percent, a little more than the overall rate.

Residential construction spending gained 4.4 percent for the month in April, and 9.7 percent compared with a year ago. Total nonresidential construction neither gained nor lost ground in terms of spending in April, but it was up 6.1 percent compared with a year ago.

Spending on office projects was up 8.9 percent year-over-year in April, and 0.9 percent for the month. Spending on hotels gained a whopping 18.8 percent for the year, and 3.6 percent for the month. In a category the Census Bureau calls “commercial,” which includes industrial properties, spending dropped a considerable 3 percent for the month, but was up 5.6 percent for the year. Spending on health-care projects edged down 0.2 percent for the month, but gained 7.5 percent for the year.