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Nonresidential Construction Spending Shrinks Further In November As Many Commercial Projects Languish, Even While Homebuilding Soars

January 4, 2021

AGC Urges Quick Action on Infrastructure Funding and Protection from Meritless Lawsuits; Industry Survey Finds Widespread Pessimism about Volume of Projects Available to Bid on in 2021

Construction spending was a tale of two industries again in November, as soaring single-family construction masked ongoing downturns in private and public nonresidential construction, according to an analysis of new federal construction spending data by the Associated General Contractors of America. AGC officials said the new figures underscore the need for new infrastructure investments and other measures to boost demand for nonresidential construction amid the pandemic.

“Private nonresidential construction declined for the fifth-straight month in November, while public nonresidential spending slipped for the fifth time in the past six months,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Unfortunately, our latest survey finds contractors expect the volume of projects available to bid on in 2021 will be even more meager.”

Construction spending in November totaled $1.46 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, an increase of 0.9 percent from the pace in October and 3.8 percent higher than in November 2019. But the gains were limited to residential construction, which soared 2.6 percent for the month and 16.2 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, private and public nonresidential spending slumped 0.6 percent from October and 4.7 percent from a year earlier.

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