Stimulus Helps Construction Spending Post Small
Gain in June
August 3, 2010
Total construction spending eked out a small rise in June as gains
in stimulus-aided public categories offset decreases in homebuilding
and private nonresidential spending, reported the Associated General
Contractors of America (AGC) in an analysis of new Census Bureau
data. "Stimulus dollars are supporting construction jobs, but
the pain is continuing for most contractors and their workers who
depend on private projects or school construction," says Ken
Simonson, AGC's chief economist.
Simonson notes that total construction spending inched up 0.1 percent
in June at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, buoyed by a 1.5-percent
increase in public construction, which offset declines of 0.8 percent
in private residential and 0.5 percent in private nonresidential
spending. "Every private category was negative, most deeply
so, compared to June 2009," Simonson says. "But there
were encouraging gains for the month in private hospital and power
construction, both of which should be growth markets over the next
Among public categories, Simonson says highway and wastewater construction
each rose for the fourth consecutive month; other public transportation
facilities-transit, rail and airports-jumped 20 percent from a year
earlier; and public housing soared 31 percent compared to June 2009.
"All of these categories have benefited from stimulus funds.
In contrast, public primary and secondary school construction, which
has been battered by falling property tax receipts and lower in-migration
to formerly fast-growing school districts, shrank 27 percent in
the past year."
Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of the construction association,
called on Congress and the White House to quickly enact legislation
to provide long-term funding for public infrastructure spending
and private construction.
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