Construction Spending Picks Up
Another day, another dose of construction data that doesn't necessarily square with the data released the day before -- or the day before that.
The good news? The latest data is good: The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced yesterday that December construction spending was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $816.4 billion. That's 1.5 percent above the revised November estimate of $804.0 billion and 4.3 percent above the December 2010 estimate of $782.9 billion.
And, that increase represents the fastest pace in four months, reflecting signs that the construction industry is stabilizing.
Private residential spending increased 0.8 percent to $241.2 billion in December. According to Calculated Risk, which provided the image below, that is 64 percent below the peak in early 2006.
All of this is an upbeat contrast to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller housing index report, which found that U.S. home values had fallen 3.7 percent for the year ending in November. In part, that's because Case-Shiller is a look back. Construction spending is a look forward.