Construction Spending Slips In February As Shrinking Demand, Soaring Costs, And Supply Delays Threaten Project Completion Dates And Finances

April 2, 2021









Both Nonresidential and Residential Spending Retreat from January Levels amid Extreme Winter Weather; Association Posts Inflation Alert to Aid Understanding of Squeeze on Nonresidential Construction Firms

Construction spending slumped in February as unseasonably severe weather hammered the industry and a decline in new projects squeezed nonresidential contractors experiencing rising costs and delivery times, according to an analysis of new federal construction spending data by the Associated General Contractors of America. The association posted a Construction Inflation Alert to inform project owners and government officials about the threat to project completion dates and contractors’ financial health.

“The downturn in February reflects both an unfavorable change from mild January weather and an ongoing decline in new nonresidential projects,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Unfortunately, it will take more than mild weather to help nonresidential contractors overcome the multiple challenges of falling demand for many project types, steeply rising costs, and lengthening or uncertain delivery times for key materials.”

Construction spending in February totaled $1.52 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, a decrease of 0.8 percent from the pace in January. Although the overall total was 5.3 percent higher than in February 2020, the year-over-year gain was limited to residential construction, Simonson noted. That segment slipped 0.2 percent for the month but jumped 21 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, combined private and public nonresidential spending declined 1.3 percent from January and 6.1 percent over 12 months.

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