Construction Spending Declines for Fourth Consecutive Month

Despite growth in some areas, June was another sluggish month for the construction industry as a whole.

Alistair Berg/Getty Images

Construction spending declined again in June, according to the latest data from the United States Census Bureau. The drop marks the fourth consecutive month of decline in overall construction spending.

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Officials with the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) warned in a news release that this drop-off will probably persist as the coronavirus pandemic stretches on.

“Regrettably, the overall downward trend in spending is likely to continue and to spread to more project types as work that began before the pandemic hit finishes up,” said Ken Simonson, the AGC’s chief economist.

The downturn continued despite signs of slightly stronger performance in specific sectors. Manufacturing and office construction spending was actually up on the month, with those categories increasing by 1.7 percent and 0.3 percent respectively. New multifamily spending saw considerable growth, rising three percent from May.

But those small gains were not nearly enough to offset the sharp declines in other parts of the industry. Single-family homebuilding dropped 3.6 percent from the month before, and overall private residential construction fell 1.5 percent.

Private residential improvements, a category that includes spending on remodeling, major replacements, and additions to owner-occupied housing units, dipped 0.4 percent in June.

The AGC called on the federal government to increase investment in infrastructure and other construction projects,

“Instead of letting people languish in unemployment, Washington can put people back to work simply by boosting investments in needed infrastructure and other construction projects,” said AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr.