ARLINGTON, VA.—Total U.S. construction spending increased in November compared to levels in October and a year earlier, as gains in private residential and nonresidential projects outweighed decreases in public outlays, according to a new analysis of federal construction spending data released by the Associated General Contractors of America.
Officials noted public sector investments were down in part because Congress has failed to provide funding so far for the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill enacted last year.
“Private nonresidential spending appears to be on a solid upswing, with five consecutive months of growth, but public outlays for construction remain erratic,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, in a statement. “The public side isn’t likely to post steady gains until funds from the new infrastructure law become available and turn into actual projects.”
Construction spending in November totalled $1.63 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, 0.4 per cent above the October rate and 9.3 per cent higher than in November 2020. Year-to-date spending in the first 11 months of 2021 combined increased 7.9 per cent from the total for January-November 2020.
Private construction spending rose 0.6 per cent in November from the October total and 12.5 per cent from November 2020. In contrast, public construction spending slipped 0.2 per cent for the month and 0.9 per cent year-over-year.
There were gains in both residential and nonresidential private construction. The largest private nonresidential segment, power construction, rose 0.1 per cent for the month and 7.5 per cent year-over-year. Among other large segments, commercial construction, comprising warehouse, retail and farm structures, dipped 0.1 per cent in November but jumped 15.1 per cent year-over-year. Manufacturing construction increased for the 11th month in a row, by 0.9 per cent, putting the total 22.4 per cent above the year-earlier level.
The largest public categories posted mixed results. Highway and street construction slid 0.8 per cent from October but rose 0.2 per cent compared to November 2020. Educational construction climbed 0.3 per cent for the month but declined 6.3 per cent year-over-year. Transportation spending fell 0.5 per cent in November but rose 0.7 per cent from the year-earlier total.