Construction Forecasts

News & Analysis

Heavy Construction Spending Increased 0.4% in March

05/10/2011 by Jim Haughey, RCD Chief Economist

Heavy construction spending increased 0.4% in March entirely due to power construction. Natural gas activity continues to expand. Alternative electricity generation is still expanding with federal subsidies but this funding source is now being cutback by Congress. The balance of the heavy market is trending steady to slightly down. The inflow of new public funds will continue to shrink into 2012. However, funding for private facilities will soon be rising in an expanding economy that is quickly absorbing spare capacity. The amount of federal highway funding beginning in October is still uncertain.

Heavy construction spending is forecast to decline 0.3% in 2011 and then rise 4.0% in 2012.

U.S. Non-building (Heavy Engineering) Construction
(billions of U.S. current dollars)

  Monthly Figures*
(latest actual values)
Annual Figures
  Actual Forecast
  Feb-11 Mar-11 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Transportation (% change is period
versus same period, previous year)
39.492 39.573 31.697 35.457 38.090 39.659 39.986 42.425
0.7% -7.1% 13.6% 11.9% 7.4% 12.3% 0.8% 6.1%
Communication 17.827 17.387 27.490 26.537 19.711 17.983 18.359 20.333
  -5.6% 4.7% 23.6% -3.5% -25.7% -8.8% 2.1% 10.7%
Power 80.209 81.618 65.955 80.411 88.627 82.110 79.802 75.000
  2.5% 16.9% 56.2% 21.9% 10.2% -7.4% -2.8% -6.0%
Highway 82.124 83.001 76.727 57.241 81.578 82.523 85.134 91.725
  8.3% 4.9% 6.9% 5.3% 1.0% 1.2% 3.2% 7.7%
Water and Sewer 37.987 37.427 40.655 42.494 40.106 40.782 38.677 42.938
  2.8% -4.4% 6.6% 4.5% 91.0% 1.7% -5.2% 11.0%
Conservation & Development 7.170 6.743 5.252 5.246 5.633 6.752 7.15992 7.550
  26.5% 10.4% 3.0% -0.1% 7.4% 19.9% 6.0% 5.4%
Total 264.809 265.749 247.776 270.937 273.745 269.808 269.118 279.970
  -1.7% -0.3% 19.5% 9.3% 1.0% -1.4% -0.3% 4.0%

* Monthly figures are seasonally adjusted at annual rates (SAAR figures).
The total includes some miscellaneous buildings.
Actuals: U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Commerce (put-in-place investment figures).
Forecasts and table: Reed Research Group.


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