Construction spending gained a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent in April, but dropped 2.5 percent for the first four months of 2007 compared to the same period in 2006, according to recent Census Bureau figures. Residential spending dropped 0.9 percent for April and 15 percent year-to-date, while nonresidential spending rose 1.1 percent in April and 14 percent year-to-date.
Large year-to-date increases were recorded in hotel resort construction (56 percent); offices (32 percent); communications (19 percent); hospitals and multi-retail, including general merchandise stores, shopping centers and malls, both rose 18 percent.
Spending in every public category was at least 5-percent higher in the first four months of 2007 compared to the same period in 2006. Highways and streets, and education, combined for more than half the public total. Highway construction rose 12 percent year over year and educational rose 8.3 percent.
Private residential spending figures were low all around. Although April’s year-over-year drop was only 0.1 percent, the first four months were down 27 percent. Multi-family residential spending dropped 1.8 percent in April, although year-to-date figures showed a 1.2 percent increase. Spending on residential improvements decreased 2.5 percent in April, but rose 15 percent year-to-date.