U.S. construction spending hits 10-year low

Construction spending fell nationwide for the third month in a row in July 2010, this time to its lowest level in 10 years, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce. July’s $805 billion annual spending rate was 1 percent below June’s $813.1 billion rate and 10.7 percent below the $901.2 billion level recorded in July 2009. The private residential construction sector, which has been battered by gloomy reports since the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credit in June, saw a 2.6 percent decline in spending — to an annual rate of $240.3 billion — since June but a 5.5 percent increase over July 2009. Meanwhile, spending in the hotel sector, in which construction has come to a near-standstill, declined by another 1.7 percent month-over-month to $11.6 billion annually, which also represents a more than 53 percent year-over-year drop. And public construction projects aren’t rushing to the construction industry’s rescue: spending on public projects dropped to $298.8 billion yearly in July, down 1.2 percent from June and 7.9 percent from last year. As of the end of July, the 2010 tally of construction spending of any kind was $460 billion. By July 2009, U.S. builders had spent $522 billion for the year on construction projects. TRD

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