The Department of Commerce announced on May 1, 2012, that construction spending during March 2012 was virtually the same as the revised estimate for the month of February estimate. The March figure is 6.0 percent above the March 2011 estimate. Construction spending for the first 3 months of this year was 6.7 percent above the same period in 2011.
Private construction seems to be leading the market. Private spending for March 2012 was virtually the same as the revised February level in both residential and non-residential construction. The total private spending level is up 11.5 percent from a year ago. The components are mixed, with the largest increases in power and manufacturing.
The usually dependable market for public works continues to decline and is seen as an anchor to recovery of the overall construction market. In March, the estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending in March was 1.1 percent below the revised February estimate and down 3.2 percent from a year ago. Educational construction was slightly lower than highway construction, but public housing (-17%), transportation (-11.1%), and conservation and development work (-16.2%) were down significantly from a year ago.