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Industry & Trends

Construction Spending Ticks Up in May, Continuing Uneven Path

The building industry has been on a roller coaster ride the past year and that continued in May – in a good way – when spending in the U.S. beat expectations.

Construction spending is still in recovery mode and is unlikely to hit the highs of the early years of the pandemic when the country experienced a major housing boom but the news for May was nevertheless encouraging.

The U.S. Department of Commerce Department reported in early July that spending on construction rose 0.9% in May, beating a forecast from economists surveyed by Reuters who were only projecting a 0.6% increase. May also beat the April 0.4% gain and for the year to date, overall construction spending is up 2.4% versus a year ago.

The increases seemed to hit across the board. Private construction projects jumped 1.1%, while overall residential construction jumped 2.2% after dropping 0.9% the prior month. Spending on single-family housing projects increased 1.7% in May while public construction project spending eked out a 0.1% rise. Spending by local and state governments also showed a 0.4% increase.

But there were some negative numbers. Multi-family project spending was off 0.1%, private non-residential building for things like gas and oil well drilling fell 0.3% and spending on federal government projects dropped 2.5%.

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