Wednesday, October 1st17.2°C
22738
22746

US construction spending up tiny 0.1 per cent in February despite drop in housing construction

WASHINGTON - U.S. construction spending posted a slight increase in February as a rebound in construction of hotels and other nonresidential buildings offset a decline in housing.

But housing construction fell as activity was still being depressed by the harsh winter.

Construction spending increased a scant 0.1 per cent in February after a 0.2 per cent drop in January, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The increase left construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $945.7 billion, 8.7 per cent above the level of a year ago.

The small increase in February came from a 1.2 per cent advance in nonresidential projects, led by a 3.5 per cent rise in construction of hotels and motels. Spending on government projects edged up 0.1 per cent, helped by a big gain at the federal level. Residential construction dropped 0.8 per cent, the biggest setback since July.

The increase in nonresidential construction was a rebound from January when spending in this area had fallen 1 per cent. The February increase was helped by gains in spending on construction of lodging establishments which offset weakness in office building and the category that includes shopping malls.

The 0.1 per cent rise in public construction reflected a 5.8 per cent rise in spending at the federal level which offset a 0.5 per cent decline in spending on state and local government projects. Even with the small February advance, government construction spending is down 1 per cent from a year ago government projects have been restrained by tight budgets.

The 0.8 per cent decline in housing construction followed sizable gains in the previous three months and was expected to be a temporary drop. Housing is expected to continue being a source of strength for the economy in 2014. Economists say a strengthening economy will boost employment and the employment gains will provide the income gains needed to convince potential home buyers to take the plunge.

Most economists are looking for sales of new and existing homes to show improvement as the spring buying season gets into full swing. They expect pent-up demand to help sales following an unusually severe winter which depressed sales.

Housing, while still a long way from the boom of several years ago, has been recovering over the past two years.

One assumption underlying the optimism on housing: Even as the Federal Reserve keeps scaling backs its bond purchases, which were used to keep long-term rates low, mortgage rates will rise only gradually this year.

In her first major speech as leader of the Federal Reserve, Chair Janet Yellen delivered a strong statement on her concerns about a labour market she said was still too weak. Even though the Fed has been gradually trimming its bond purchases, Yellen said the central bank still needs to provide significant support to the economy.

She said that the extraordinary support the Fed is providing will be needed "for some time," a view she said was widely held by other Fed officials.

Her comments lifted spirits on Wall Street where investors had been worried that remarks Yellen had made last month following a Fed meeting might indicate that the central bank could start raising a key short-term interest rate sooner than expected.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

23607


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14805.44-155.069
S&P CDNX896.35-12.94
DJIA16804.71-238.19
Nasdaq4422.085-71.305
S&P 5001946.16-26.13
CDN Dollar0.8957+0.0002
Gold1213.50-2.00
Oil89.18-0.58
Lumber344.10+6.30
Natural Gas4.02-0.101

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.135+0.005
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.22-0.04
Cantex0.075+0.01
Anavex Life Sciences0.1804-0.0036
Metalex Ventures0.0550.00
Russel Metals34.68+0.11
Copper Mountain Mining2.29-0.13
Colorado Resources0.16-0.005
ReliaBrand Inc0.019-0.001
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.065+0.045
Mission Ready Services0.31-0.01

 





FEATURED Property
2013262362 Stellar Drive
5 bedrooms 4 baths
$685,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Power-save your way to a down payment

Part 2 of 2 to read Part 1, click here. 5. Dial down your vacations. New York is out. Maybe Buffalo. For West coast, maybe Seattle instead of Hawaii. Use sites like Airbnb (aribnb.ca) to find ch...


A wildly successful manufacturer

Niche food producer “Sweets from the Earth” thrives using innovation, uniqueness and an unwavering focus on quality. A neighbour’s stew turned Ilana Kadonoff off meat at the age of s...


Finding the smart money

Recently I had the privilege of working alongside André Voskuil, a local guru in the world of Alternative Financing. André has quite the reputation in the world of direct investments as ...

_








Member of BC Press Council


23266