Released on 5/4/2009 10:00:00 AM For March, 2009
Previous Consensus Consensus Range Actual
Construction Spending - M/M change -0.9 % -1.0 % -2.0 % to -0.1 % 0.3 %
Construction Spending - Y/Y change -11.1 %
Construction spending in March rebounded unexpectedly but housing is still on a downtrend. Construction outlays posted a 0.3 percent gain in March, following a 1.0 percent decrease the month before. The rise in March was much better than the market forecast for a 1.0 percent fall. The rebound in March was led by private nonresidential outlays which jumped 2.7 percent after a 0.7 increase in February. The public component also advanced 1.1 percent, following a 1.3 percent boost the month before. However, the private residential component continued its downward trend, falling 4.2 percent after a 5.9 percent plunge in February.
Within private residential outlays, the single-family component dropped a monthly 8.6 percent while the multifamily component slipped 1.1 percent in the latest month.
On a year-on-year basis, overall construction outlays weakened to down11.1 percent in March, from down 10.1 percent in February.
Construction outlays in March indicate that businesses may be looking ahead toward the end of recession when increased capacity is needed. And we may be seeing a rising in public construction from fiscal stimulus beginning. But the important housing sector has not yet hit bottom. However, today's pending home sales report was moderately positive, indicating that outlays in this sector could be bottoming soon. Equities rose on the news of improvement in both outlays and pending home sales.
Market Consensus Before Announcement
Construction spending in February fell again but not as much as expected. Construction outlays dropped another 0.9 percent in February, after plunging 3.5 percent in January. Weakness in February was led private residential outlays, which fell 4.3 percent. The single-family subcomponent dropped 10.9 percent while the multifamily portion slipped 2.1 percent. The other two major components actually made partial rebounds. The private nonresidential component rose 0.3 percent after a 4.3 percent drop in January. Public outlays rebounded 0.8 percent, following a 2.4 percent decrease the month before. Looking ahead, the drop in the level of housing starts on average over the last three months indicates that the residential component of outlays will likely continue downward in March, pulling down overall construction spending.
The dollar value of new construction activity on residential, non-residential, and public projects. Data are available in nominal and real (inflation-adjusted) dollars. Why Investors Care
Data Source: Haver Analytics
Over the last year, a decline in residential outlays has pulled down year-on-year growth for overall construction outlays. Nonresidential and public outlays are positive with nonresidential actually strong.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
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