Spending for Construction Drops to Low of Nine Months

Construction spending in the U.S. fell unexpectedly during July, hitting a low of nine months amidst a steep drop in investment for private structures.

The Department of Commerce said Friday that spending on construction fell 0.6% to just over $1.21 trillion, as the investment in projects in the public sector fell as well.

That was its lowest level since October of 2016 and comes following a revised downward tumble of 1.4% for June.

Economists forecasted spending for construction increasing by 0.5% for July after reporting previously a drop of 1.3% for June.

Construction spending was up 1.8% on the basis of year to year.

During July, spending for private nonresidential structures fell 1.9% to their lowest since April of 2016.

The percentage drop was the largest since October of 2015 and comes after a drop of 1.6% in June. Residential and nonresidential structure investments like gas and oil wells have slowed, as the surge from recovering prices of oil is fading.

Because of that, spending for private projects of construction was down 0.4% during July after dropping by 0.5% during June. Investment in construction for private residential structures was higher by 0.8%.

Outlays on projects for public construction were down 1.4% to hit their lowest point since February of 2014. That followed a plunge of 4.4% for June. Spending for local and state government projects was down 1.4% during July also dropping to its lowest point since February of 2014.

Federal government spending for construction was down 1.2% also its lowest since April of 2016.

Construction spending had been expected to reverse losses of June to gain over 0.6% in July. That missed forecasts in the prior month when it fell by 1.3%.

Activity in national factory increased for the third straight month during August, beating most expectations and continuing growth not seen in three years.

The manufacturing index in the U.S. registered for August at 58.8, which was up from July’s reading of 56.3, and beating analyst estimates on Wall Street for 56.5. A reading that is over 50 on the ISM or Institute for Supply Management index indicates manufacturing had grown for the period in question, which represents over 12% of the economy in the U.S.

More public construction project on infrastructure were expected after President Donald Trump has campaigned on increased spending in that sector, but that has not yet panned out.

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