National nonresidential construction spending was up by 0.5% in September, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data published today by the U.S. Census Bureau. On a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, nonresidential spending totaled $883.9 billion for the month.
Spending was down on a monthly basis in 11 of the 16 nonresidential subcategories. Private nonresidential spending was up 1.0%, while public nonresidential construction spending was down 0.3% in September.
“The disconnect between contractor confidence, which remains elevated according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index, and nonresidential construction spending continues,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While nonresidential construction spending is below February 2020 levels, many contractors report operating at capacity. This has much to do with worker and equipment shortages.”
“Many projects under construction in America began prior to the rapid increase in borrowing costs that started earlier this year,” said Basu. “With interest rates on the rise and the economy expected to slow, nonresidential spending will likely decline further, at least in segments vulnerable to economic downturns. Contractors that focus on public construction work stand to be in far better shape given recent federal legislation and excess pandemic relief funds waiting to be spent by many state and local governments.”