According to data from the U.S. Commerce Department released May 1, spending on construction in the public and private sectors fell only slightly in March compared to a record-high level recorded the previous month. With a total spending estimate of more than $1.21 trillion, construction spending in March came in just under the record of $1.22 trillion set in February, the first decline after five consecutive months of increases. Despite this small dip, spending figures remain strong and are a sign of a resilient U.S. economy, with business owners and developers looking to invest in new projects as well as renovations like roof repairs and maintenance.
Private residential construction rose 1.2 percent during the period to a rate of $503.4 billion, while private nonresidential construction fell 1.3 percent from February to March to a rate of $436.8 billion. Within residential, single-family inched up 0.3 percent, while multifamily increased 2.0 percent. Public construction fell 0.9 percent during the period.
Despite some lag in specific sectors, March’s construction spending figure is 3.6 percent ahead of the year-ago mark, while spending in the first three months of 2017 is 4.9 percent ahead of the same period last year.
In a promising development, architecture billings rose in March according to the American Institute of Architects’ proprietary index, which measures demand for design services and has a nine- to 12-month lead time on construction spending. The American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index posted a 3.6 point increase from February, it’s second month above the break-even threshold of 50.
The ongoing skilled-labor shortage and uncertainty over the Trump administration’s infrastructure investment plan could slow project spending. Most recently, the administration proposed a tax reform bill that would repatriate corporate earnings from abroad, but it made no mention of infrastructure spending. While both parties had considered repatriation as a way to help pay for the administration’s ambitious $1 trillion infrastructure plan, the absence of allowances for such projects has some lawmakers concerned the proposal could be postponed or scrapped entirely.
Any way you look at it, it’s clear the coming summer months will still be a great time for the construction industry as it works to meet the demands of homeowners, businesses and more. Be sure to prioritize a high-quality roofing manufacturer like MB Technology when looking to schedule your next roofing project.