Construction Spending Rises, Manufacturing Growth Slows
Construction Spending Rises
U.S. construction spending topped $1.7 trillion in March on a trailing-year basis, up 0.1% from the February figure and 11.7% from March 2021, the Commerce Department reported Monday.
Spending on private construction rose 0.2% from February to reach $1.4 trillion, led by a 1% rise in residential construction, which reached $882 billion. Nonresidential private construction totaled $497.6 billion as of March, down 1.2% from February.
Public construction as of March was at $350.8 billion, down 0.2% from February. Education-oriented projects declined 0.8% from the prior month to $80.3 billion, and highway construction dropped 0.4% to $103.1 billion for the trailing 12 months.
Most numbers in the latest Commerce Department release are annualized. When the first quarter alone is tallied, the total of $376.6 billion for all types of construction marked a 12% increase from the first quarter of 2021, the department reported.
Manufacturing Growth Slows
Lingering pandemic effects continue to gum up supply chains, but the U.S. manufacturing economy registered its 23rd consecutive month of expansion in March, albeit at a slower rate of growth.
The Institute for Supply Management, a manufacturing trade group based in Tempe, Arizona, issued its monthly manufacturing project management index (PMI) for April on Monday, reporting that new orders, production and employment grew at slower rates than they did during the prior month.
Based on regular nationwide surveys of companies involved in supply logistics, the group’s April index was at 55.4%, a decline of 1.7 percentage points from the March reading but still showing growth. This makes 23 months of growth after the index showed contraction in April and May of 2020, early in the pandemic.
“The U.S. manufacturing sector remains in a demand-driven, supply chain-constrained environment,” said Timothy Fiore, who chairs the institute’s manufacturing business survey committee, in a statement. “In April, progress slowed in solving labor shortage problems at all tiers of the supply chain.”
Fiore noted survey respondents reported higher rates of job resignations compared with prior months, and fewer reported improvements in meeting head-count targets. April saw a slight easing of supply cost escalation, “but instability in global energy markets continues.”