Construction Forecasts

News & Analysis

Heavy Engineering (Non-Building) Construction Spending Slipped in July

10/03/2011 by Bernard M. Markstein, RCD US Chief Economist

Heavy engineering (non-building) construction spending fell slightly, down 0.3% in July. This follows two months of strong increases—up 1.0% in June and 1.5% in May. Year-to-date, heavy engineering spending inched up 0.4% over the same period last year. The heavy construction sector is forecast to hold up well despite misgivings about the economy because much of the funding for 2012 and some 2013 work has already been committed from trust funds, bond issues, and long-term private facility projects for site development, utilities, and power generation. A small share of expected funding will be lost or delayed but this will be largely offset by projects that emerge from the administration’s proposed investment in infrastructure. The result is that after falling 1.9% this year, construction spending on heavy engineering projects will increase 5.7% in 2012 and 7.0% in 2013.

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

  Monthly Figures*
(latest actual values)
Annual Figures
  Actual Forecast
  May-11 Jun-11 Jul-11 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Transportation (% change is period 35.621 35.740 35.137 36.701 38.232 36.206 37.744 41.947
versus same period, previous year) -10.6% -9.7% -8.9% 3.5% 4.2% -5.3% 4.2% 11.1%
Communication 17.701 18.317 18.454 19.753 18.261 18.116 19.408 21.660
0.3% 1.9% -3.6% -25.4% -7.6% -0.8% 7.1% 11.6%
Power 86.258 88.280 87.885 88.861 78.540 85.097 88.612 87.709
17.7% 15.7% 18.9% 9.6% -11.6% 8.3% 4.1% -1.0%
Highway 74.812 74.493 74.892 82.166 82.657 76.829 82.444 90.624
-9.5% -10.7% -5.9% 1.0% 0.6% -7.1% 7.3% 9.9%
Water and Sewer 36.260 36.930 37.040 40.301 41.368 37.484 39.987 45.004
-13.2% -11.3% -13.1% -5.1% 2.6% -9.4% 6.7% 12.5%
Conservation & Development 7.353 6.806 6.463 5.750 6.937 7.123 7.455 7.962
  6.5% -12.9% -6.8% 9.9% 20.6% 2.7% 4.7% 6.8%
Total 258.005 260.566 259.871 273.532 265.995 260.855 275.649 294.906
-1.7% -2.8% -0.7% 0.5% -2.8% -1.9% 5.7% 7.0%

* Monthly figures are seasonally adjusted at annual rates (SAAR figures).
The total includes some miscellaneous buildings.
Source: Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce.
Forecast: Reed Construction Data
.


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