Construction spending edged up 0.1% in June, as the federal government’s economic stimulus program offset continued weakness in building activity.
But the seasonally adjusted annual rate of construction spending of $836 billion remained 7.9% below the level reported for June 2009, the Commerce Department reported. Spending in May fell a revised 1% from April, and was 8% below the total reported for May 2009.
For the first half of the year, construction spending totaled $389.6 billion, 11.2% below the total of $438.7 billion for the first half of 2009, the Commerce Department said.
Total residential construction spending was 15.2% below the annual rate reported for June 2009, while nonresidential construction was 15.2% lower.
Spending on public construction, which includes fiscal stimulus infrastructure projects, rose 1.5% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $308.4 billion. Power and utilities construction, part of the public-construction category, surged 25.2%; health care building-related construction rose 5.4%; public office construction increased 3.1%; and highway construction rose 0.1%.
Compared to June 2009, total public construction spending in June declined an estimated 4.1%, although public residential spending rose 31.4%. Public nonresidential spending fell 5.0% from the rate reported for June 2009.
Private construction fared less well, slipping 0.6% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $527.6 billion from May’s estimate of $530.9 billion. Residential construction declined 0.8%, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $358.3 billion, while nonresidential construction dipped 0.5%, to an annual rate of $269.3 billion.
Compared to June 2009, private-construction spending was off 10%, with private residential construction spending falling 11.8% and nonresidential spending dropping 24.1%.
Total construction spending in June edged up slightly in several building categories compared to May, but remained well below June 2009 levels for most categories. Compared to May, spending rose 5.7% for the power category, 7.6% for conservation and development, 3.5% for sewage and waste disposal, 2.3% for public safety, and 2.7% for religious, with smaller increases or minor spending declines reported for other categories.
Compared to June 2009, spending rose only for the transportation category (13%), highway and street (1.7%), sewage and waste disposal (9.1%), and conservation and development (32.6%). For other categories, spending was lower by anywhere from 1.3% for water supply to 57.7% for lodging. Spending remained well below June 2009 levels for office (-30.5%), commercial (-24.9%), health care (-12.7%), educational (-22.2%), public safety (-14.9%), amusement and recreation (-15.4%), communication (-10.3%), and manufacturing (-32.9%).