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October Construction Spending Up 9.6% Year-Over-Year

Construction spending during October was at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of $872.1 billion, ""according to an estimate"":http://www.census.gov/construction/c30/pdf/release.pdf from the ""Census Bureau"":http://www.census.gov/.

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October's spending was about 1.4 percent above the revised September estimate of $860.4 billion and 9.6 percent above October 2011's $795.7 billion.

The Commerce Department estimates that construction spending during 2012's first 10 months amounted to $707.4 billion, 9.3 percent above the $646.9 billion estimate for the same period in 2011.

Spending on private construction was at an annual rate of $592.1 billion in October, up about $9.4 billion (1.6 percent) from September's revised $582.7 billion. Spending on homebuilding made up a little less than half of that total, reaching an annual rate of $294.2 billion (up 3.0 percent from September and 20.8 percent from October 2011).

The increase in private residential spending was driven by gains in the single-family category, which posted an annual rate of $141.3 billion in October (3.6 percent above September and 29.0 percent above October 2011). While multifamily spending was comparatively less ($23.8 billion), it saw a more impressive year-over-year increase of 53.2 percent.

Meanwhile, spending on private nonresidential construction--which includes healthcare facilities, lodging, and commercial spaces, among others--hit an estimated annual rate of $297.9 billion, rising almost $1 billion (0.3 percent) from the revised September estimate.

""Power"" ($80.6 billion), ""manufacturing"" ($47.0 billion), and ""commercial"" ($45.0) were the most active categories in terms of private nonresidential construction spending. Spending increased year-over-year for all categories except health care (down 0.3 percent), amusement and recreation (down 6.6 percent), communication (down 3 percent), and religious (down 3.6 percent).

Spending in the public sector also increased, rising 0.8 percent to a rate of $280.1 billion. That total was 1.0 percent down from its year-ago level.

Spending on public residential projects was at an annual rate of $6.6 billion, up 1.9 percent month-over-month but down 20.9 percent from last October. Three nonresidential categories fell from their September levels--""highway and street"" (down 2.4 percent), ""sewage and waste disposal"" (down 2.2 percent), and ""conservation and development"" (down 2.1 percent)--but year-over-year comparisons were mixed. Seven of the 12 nonresidential categories posted declines from last year, bringing the nonresidential subsector down 0.4 percent.

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