Overall construction spending was down slightly in August, while other spending was mixed and prices for materials like steel and lumber improved, according to the latest analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America.
Overall construction spending was $1.78 trillion in August and down 0.7% from July’s rate, an AGC analysis showed. Spending was up 8.5% year-over-year, providing a brief sign of confidence for contractors in a murky market.
Private nonresidential construction spending was down 0.1% and private residential construction declined by 0.9% from July, the AGC reported. Public construction spending dipped by 0.8% for the month.
Out of 16 nonresidential subcategories, 10 of them experienced shrinkage over the month, the AGC said. Multifamily construction (0.4%), owner-occupied improvements (1%), retail (0.5%), electric power (0.4%), electronics (3.7%) and office and data centers (0.3%) were the subcategories that saw growth.
Meanwhile, the price for steel, lumber and plastic have stabilized or improved in recent weeks, the AGC said. Certain steel products were reduced by $60 per ton, Steel Dynamics reported, and New South News reported rebar remained flat through August and September.
Construction employment rose over the year in 246 of 358 metro areas, Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed. Employment fell in 57 areas and remained the same in 55 areas.