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February construction spending up from a year ago

By Rick Seltzer


Construction spending increased in February 2012 when compared to the same month last year as rising private construction spending outweighed a dip in public spending, according to a new analysis of federal data from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

Construction spending in February 2012 was up 5.8 percent from February 2011, AGC said. Private nonresidential construction spending shot up 14 percent, and private residential spending jumped 5.6 percent from February last year.

Public construction spending headed in the opposite direction, declining 1.4 percent in February 2012 versus the same month a year earlier.

February’s overall increase in construction spending is not solely due to favorable weather this year, AGC Chief Economist Kenneth Simonson said in a news release.

“It is heartening to see that nearly all private residential and nonresidential segments exceeded their February 2011 levels this February and that the decline in public construction has moderated from the steep pace of early last year,” Simonson said. “The improvement is too widespread to be attributable just to favorable weather comparisons.”

Construction spending did dip from January to February 2012, however. Spending fell 1.1 percent between the first two months of this year. That could be because mild weather in December and January allowed builders to start work in those months that would normally begin in February, according to Simonson.

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