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Nonresidential Construction Spending Remains Flat In October While Residential Construction Expands As Many Commercial Projects Languish

December 1, 2020

Demand For Most Types of Nonresidential Projects Remains Flat Amid COVID-Uncertainty, Dwindling State and Local Budgets and the Lack of New Federal Coronavirus Relief Measures, Putting Jobs at Risk

The construction industry’s fortunes continued to diverge in October, as residential construction expanded again while nonresidential construction remained largely unchanged from a month ago and is down compared to last year, according to an analysis of new federal construction spending data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said that demand for nonresidential construction is being hit by private sector worries about the coronavirus, tighter state and local budgets and the lack of new federal pandemic relief measures.

“The October spending report shows private nonresidential construction is continuing to slide,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Public construction spending has fluctuated in recent months but both types of nonresidential spending have fallen significantly from recent peaks this year and appear to be heading even lower.”

Construction spending in October totaled $1.44­­ trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, an increase of 1.3 percent from the pace in September and 3.7 percent higher than in October 2019. But the gains were limited to residential construction, which increased 2.9 percent for the month and 14.6 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, private and public nonresidential spending was virtually unchanged from September and declined 3.7 percent from a year earlier­.

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