Spending on U.S. construction projects rose 0.2% in March, fueled mostly by outlays for private nonresidential projects and offsetting a drop in spending on federal and private residential construction.
Construction spending in February was also revised to rise significantly upward, by 1.5%, from a previously estimated gain of 0.3%, causing some economists to boost their projections for first-quarter economic growth.
Let's look at the numbers:
Total annualized construction spending was $1.187 trillion in March, with private construction spending totaling $900.281 billion.
Private residential construction totaled $569 billion or about 48% of total construction spending and 63% of total private spending. This number was down 1% from February and 14% from March 2006. At the same time, private nonresidential spending is up 2.4% from February and 16.5% from March 2006. However, public nonresidential spending was up .4% from February 2006 and 9.5% from March 2006.
Here's an interesting fact. The total value of private and public nonresidential spending is $609 billion, making it about $50 billion larger than nonresidential. That means these combined sectors could theoretically absorb construction workers displaced in the housing slowdown. That assumes that residential and nonresidential construction projects are occurring in the same location and involve the same skill sets etc...