AGC: Construction Spending Up Nearly 6 Percent in the Last Year

Construction spending was up nearly 6 percent in the last year, but passing vital infrastructure and transportation legislation may be a key to further growth, according to a recent analysis of new Census Bureau data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

Total construction spending increased between October and November 2013 and for the year amid growing private-sector demand, according to the analysis. Association officials noted, however, that the spending levels were held back by declining public sector investments for both the month and the year.

?The nonresidential construction spending figures are even more positive than they appear, with most categories now positive year-over year,? said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. ?The outlook appears favorable for many types of private nonresidential and multifamily construction, but remains flat or negative for public spending.?

Construction put in place totaled $934 billion in November, rising 1 percent since October and up 5.9 percent since November 2012. Private residential construction spending increased by 1.9 percent in November and jumped 17 percent from a year earlier. Private nonresidential spending climbed 2.7 percent for the month and 1 percent year-over-year. Public construction spending dropped 1.8 percent for the month and 0.2 percent over 12 months.

The largest private nonresidential category, power construction ? which includes oil and gas field and pipeline projects as well as power plants, renewable power and transmission lines ? increased by 3.3 percent in November but is actually down 24.2 percent for the year.

Association officials also noted that the spending figures would have been even better had it not been for the public sector declines. They urged Congress and the administration to work together in 2014 to pass vital transportation and other infrastructure legislation. ?Finding new ways to fund repairs to our aging infrastructure will help the construction industry grow and boost our broader economy,? said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr.

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