U.S. Census Bureau Releases October Construction Spending Figures

While October's construction spending was only 0.2% above the September figure, it is 8.6% above the October 2020 estimate.

December 1, 2021

2 Min Read
3 construction workers in gear on a job site looking at a crane in the distance

Construction spending during October 2021 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,598 billion, 0.2% above the revised September estimate of $1,594.8 billion, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau

The October figure is 8.6% above the October 2020 estimate of $1,471.7 billion.

During the first 10 months of this year, construction spending amounted to $1,323.1 billion, 7.5% above the $1,230.8 billion for the same period in 2020.

Private construction ($1.245 billion) was down 0.2% from the September estimate of $1,247.9 billion while public construction spending ($353 billion) was up 1.8% above the revised September estimate of $346.8 billion.

Residential construction in October was down 0.5% from the previous month while nonresidential construction witnessed a 0.9% growth.

Spending on new single and multifamily units was down 0.8% and 0.1%, respectively.

Industry response

“On the surface, there is much to be encouraged by in October’s construction spending data,” ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said. “Nonresidential spending is now at its highest level since July 2020 and has rebounded 3.1% since bottoming out in June 2021. Nonresidential spending expanded meaningfully for the month and those gains were spread across most subsectors. . . 

“. . .[T]hese spending gains are largely attributable to increases in the cost of delivering construction services,” Basu continued. “Challenges that have suppressed nonresidential construction spending growth remain firmly in place. While lofty levels of investment in real estate would normally be associated with significant private construction volumes, many project owners have been induced to postpone projects because of elevated material and labor costs as well as widespread shortages.

“Still, leading indicators remain positive,” Basu added. “ABC members collectively expect revenues and employment levels to climb during the months ahead, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index

“The bottom line is that 2022 should be an excellent year for nonresidential construction,” Basu concluded.

View the Census Bureua data here.

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