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February Construction Spending Figures Better Than Expected

April 1, 2009
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Construction spending during February 2009 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $967.5 billion, 0.9 percent below the revised January estimate of $976.2 billion, according to the Commerce Department. January construction spending fell 3.5 percent.

As reported on, analysts polled by Reuters were expecting a 1.8 percent decline in overall construction spending in February. Other economists had pegged the decline at 1.5 percent.

During the first two months of this year, the Commerce Department reported that construction spending amounted to $135.5 billion, 10.9 percent below the $152 billion for the same period in 2008. The February figure is 10 percent below the February 2008 estimate of $1,075.3 billion.

Private construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $665.9 billion, 1.6 percent below the revised January estimate of $676.9 billion. Residential construction was 4.3 percent below the January figures (almost 30 percent lower than February 2008); nonresidential construction was 0.3 percent above the January figure of $389.5 billion (down 0.2 percent from last year).

Lodging construction spending was up 4.7 percent from January figures, office construction spending was up 1 percent, healthcare was up 2.1 percent, manufacturing construction was up 4.1 percent, and amusement and recreation was up 2.8 percent.

Spending on private power construction was down 3.8 percent from January, but up 11.4 percent from February of last year. Commercial construction spending is down 1.9 percent, but has a 23.1 percent decline from last February.

Public Construction

In February, public construction spending was $301.7 billion, 0.8 percent above the revised January estimate of $299.2 billion. Construction on sewage and waste disposal rose 1.6 percent from January, with only a 0.2 percent decline from last year’s February figure. Water supply construction fell 3.3 percent for the month, yet rose 1.3 percent from February 2008.

Educational construction rose 1.7 percent, healthcare 2.6 percent, power 6.6 percent, and amusement and recreation up 3.6 percent. Public safety construction declined 2 percent.

Spending on public residential construction rose 2.2 percent from January, and 7.7 percent from February 2008.

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