Construction spending up 4.7% in 2020

By Jenny LescohierFebruary 08, 2021

The U.S. Census Bureau released its monthly construction spending report of put in place construction statistics for December 2020, showing a 5.7% increase over the same period last year.

The overall value of construction in 2020 was $1,429.7 billion, 4.7% above the $1,365.1 billion spent in 2019, thanks mostly to the strength of residential construction, which jumped 11.6% year over year despite challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. Statistics showed its value at $607.6 billion in 2020, compared to $544.4 billion in 2019.

Total construction spending during December 2020 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,490.4 billion, 1.0% above the revised November estimate of $1,475.6 billion.

Nonresidential construction was $471.7 billion in 2020, 3.0% below the $486.3 billion in 2019. The value of all private construction in 2020 was $1,079.3 billion, 4.7% above the $1,030.7 billion spent in 2019. 

Spending on all private construction in December was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,137.6 billion, 1.2% above the revised November estimate of $1,124.4 billion. Residential construction jumped 3.1% in December, with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $691.0 billion, compared to the revised November estimate of $670.1 billion.

Nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $446.6 billion in December, 1.7% below the revised November estimate of $454.4 billion.

The value of public construction in 2020 was $350.5 billion, 4.8% above the $334.4 billion spent in 2019. Educational construction in 2020 was $87.3 billion, 3.6% above the 2019 figure of $84.3 billion, and highway construction was $98.8 billion, 1.8%* above the $97.1 billion in 2019.

In December, the estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending was $352.8 billion, 0.5%* above the revised November estimate of $351.1 billion. Educational construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $90.2 billion, 0.6%* above the revised November estimate of $89.7 billion. Highway construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $98.4 billion, 0.9%* above the revised November estimate of $97.5 billion.

* The 90% confidence interval includes zero. There is insufficient evidence to conclude that the actual change is different from zero.

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