Construction spending in the U.S. is off to a rough start with February’s totals lower, and January’s number revised down. The poor start has many analysts dropping their forecasts for Q1.
Spending fell 0.1% to an annual rate of $967.2 billion, according to the latest report from the Census Bureau. January’s drop was changed from a fall of 1.1% to 1.7%. Reuters and Bloomberg economists called for no change in spending.
There are no surprises when it comes to blame. Harsh weather, the strong dollar holding up exports and the remnants of the West Coast port worker slowdown.
Those factors have been a burden on construction spending that had been experiencing a slow rate of growth since the Great Recession. The industry has seen 2.1% more spending year over year.
Spending on private construction projects jumped 0.2, led by non-residential building. Private projects declined as bad weather in the second half of the month hit the country hard.
Housing numbers were mixed with single-family home projects falling 1.4%, while the strong rental market is fueling the construction of multi-family dwellings up by 4.1%.
Follow this link to see the complete Census Bureau report on construction spending in February.