Economist's Insights

Construction Spending Looks Stronger than Expected

Jan 3, 2018

Construction spending was better than expected in November and a large positive revision to the September data was more than enough to offset a slightly smaller increase for October. Total spending on construction projects improved 0.8% in November compared with expectations for a 0.5% gain. October’s initial 1.4% estimate was trimmed to 0.9% but a full percentage point was added to the previous October estimate of 0.3%. Combined, the results show activity for the three months ended in November was 0.8% better than expected and should have positive GDP implications. Looking in the current month’s details, residential and non-residential spending at both the public and private levels improved. Spending on private residential projects rose 1.0% while private non-residential spending rose a similar 0.9%. The public sector spent 5.1% more on residential projects while non-residential activity edged just 0.1% higher.