Construction Spending decreased 0.8% in February

From the Census Bureau reported that overall construction spending decreased:

Construction spending during February 2021 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,516.9 billion, 0.8 percent below the revised January estimate of $1,529.0 billion.
emphasis added

Both private and public spending decreased:

Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,165.7 billion, 0.5 percent below the revised January estimate of $1,171.6 billion. …

In February, the estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending was $351.2 billion, 1.7 percent below the revised January estimate of $357.4 billion.

Construction Spending Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows private residential and nonresidential construction spending, and public spending, since 1993. Note: nominal dollars, not inflation adjusted.

Residential spending is 6% above the bubble peak (in nominal terms – not adjusted for inflation).

Non-residential spending is 8% above the previous peak in January 2008 (nominal dollars), but has been weak recently.

Public construction spending is 8% above the previous peak in March 2009, and 34% above the austerity low in February 2014.

Year-over-year Construction SpendingThe second graph shows the year-over-year change in construction spending.

On a year-over-year basis, private residential construction spending is up 21.1%. Non-residential spending is down 9.7% year-over-year. Public spending is down slightly year-over-year.

Construction was considered an essential service in most areas and did not decline sharply like many other sectors, but it seems likely that non-residential will be under pressure. For example, lodging is down 24% YoY, multi-retail down 33% YoY, and office down 5% YoY.

This was slightly above consensus expectations of a 0.9% decrease in spending, and construction spending for the previous two months was revised up.