Construction spending posted a gain in April, rising 0.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.36 trillion from a revised estimate of $1.35 trillion in February. This was a 4.7 percent rate of growth compared to March 2019 when the rate was $1.30 trillion.
On an unadjusted basis, total spending increased from $95.91 billion in February to $105.19 billion in March and was about $6 billion higher year-over-year. On a year-to-date (YTD) basis spending increased 6.7 percent, rising from $278.46 billion in the first three months of 2019 to $297.02 billion this year.
Total private sector spending rose 0.7 percent for the month, to $1.02 trillion and was 3.7 percent higher on an annual basis. Spending on an unadjusted basis rose from $73.94 billion to $81.29 billion and the YTD total of $229.57 billion is up 5.7 percent from the same period last year.
Spending on residential construction remained strong, rising from an annual rate of $537.7 billion in February to $550.27 billion in March, a gain of 2.3 percent from February and 8.8 percent compared to the previous March. Single-family construction accounted for $301.07 billion, 2.0 percent less than in February, but 12.1 percent higher year-over-year. Multifamily spending was up 2.0 percent to $60.20 billion, a decline of 4.4 percent compared to the previous March.
For the month, total residential spending increased from $37.76 billion to $44.32 billion and was up 10.2 percent on a YTD basis to $120.04 billion. Single-family spending on an unadjusted basis was about $3 billion higher than in February at $23.73 billion and multifamily spending rose slightly more than $2 billion to $4.96 billion. For the first three months of the year single-family expenditures gained 12.9 percent to $64.92 billion while multifamily dipped from $14.84 billion to $14.14 billion.
While public construction spending consumes only about one-third of the dollars of its private counterpart, it posted the largest gains in spending, up 1.6 percent for the month and 7.9 percent on an annual basis to $348.0 billion. Among the strongest components for the month were expenditures for healthcare (up 8.1 percent), and public safety (5.5 percent). Public safety was even stronger on a year-over-year basis, gaining 47 percent.
Residential spending, while only up 0.7 percent from February to $7.63 billion, jumped 24.6 percent from its March 2019 level. Public sector spending on residential construction YTD is $1.65 billion, a 29 percent increase from a year earlier.