U.S. construction spending boosted by residential building in May

July 02, 2012 04:30PM

Construction spending continued its ascent in May, according to a report released today by the U.S. Commerce Department. Firms spent at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $830 billion on construction, up 0.9 percent from April and 7.0 percent from the same period a year ago. It marks the third consecutive month of inclines and the highest adjusted rate of spending since December 2009.

The increase can be almost entirely attributed to the residential sector — another positive sign for the nation’s housing market. Residential construction outlays rose 2.9 percent since April and 6.2 percent from the prior-year month. Non-residential spending held steady since April but is up 7.4 percent since last year. In another positive sign, the spending growth was fueled by the private sector, which increased building expenditures by 1.6 percent since April and 13.1 percent since May 2011. Public spending actually decreased over both those time frames.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, $70.7 billion was spent in May bringing the total to $310.4 billion for the first five months of the year, up 9.4 percent from the same period a year ago. Residential construction spending rose 6.2 percent through May, while non-residential spending gained 10.9 percent. — Adam Fusfeld