Best growth in almost a decade for US construction market

By Chris Sleight04 August 2015

Total US construction spending in the 12 months to the end of June came to US$ 1.06 trillion, a +12% increase on a year ago, according to the US Census Bureau. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) said it was the fastest growth rate since 2006.

There were rises across the board, with residential construction growth slightly out-pacing the non-residential sector. The value of construction in the residential sector in the 12 months to the end of June was US$ 378 billion, a +13% rise on a year ago. The non-residential sector was up +11.5% to US$ 687 billion.

Within the residential sector, which is 98% private construction, the single family segment was up +12.8% to US$ 211 billion, while construction of multi-family dwellings grew +23.7% compared to a year ago to US$ 51.5 billion.

In the non-residential sector, there was particularly sharp growth in the manufacturing (+62.1%), lodging (+42.2%), amusement & recreation (+39.2%) and office (+24.4%) construction segments. On the downside, construction linked to the power sector was down -16.5% and construction related to public safety fell -3.1%.

Although the data was welcomed by the AGC, among other industry bodies, the trade association warned it could lead to a skills shortage.

"It is clear that construction is rebounding but the progress may stall unless there is a concerted effort at all levels of government to provide training to get new workers into high-paying construction careers," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's CEO. "It would be a lost opportunity for the economy if firms can't take advantage of growing demand for work because of a lack of qualified workers."

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