Construction spending rose by a total of 0.8% during November 2018, an unusually positive reading for the winter months in construction, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Residential construction outlays accounted for the most of November's gain and nonresidential spending declined. Overall, spending is up 4.5% year-to-date.
Residential spending saw a decline over the previous three months, but November ended the downward streak by increasing 3.4%. Most of the spending came from home improvement projects, totaling about 12% of the total growth for residential construction. Wells Fargo reports a drop in single-family home construction may be due to rising labor and material costs alongside a slowing demand for single-family homes.
While residential spending was up in November, nonresidential spending dropped by 1%. Public, nonresidential outlays decreased by about 1% in most categories with the most notable drop in private nonresidential spending. There were some increases in the nonresidential category despite the drop, with spending up in health care and highway and street expenditures.
The data from November's Census Bureau was delayed due to the partial government shutdown.
—Christie Citranglo, editorial associate