Construction spending inched down in February from January levels but increased from a year earlier, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the latest construction figures were held back because of declining public sector investment levels.
Construction spending in February totaled $967 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, less than 0.1 percent lower than in January but 2.1 percent higher than in February 2014.
Two-month totals for major segments were mixed. Spending on private office construction soared 19 percent, commercial (retail, warehouse and farm) projects rose 17 percent and new single-family housing increased 11 percent. But the largest private nonresidential segment, power (including oil and gas fields and pipelines), tumbled 17 percent. The top two public categories were little changed, with educational construction down 0.7 percent and highway spending up 1.5 percent compared to January and February 2014.
Association officials noted that the new construction spending data shows that political gridlock in Washington is undermining the industry’s recovery