July Construction Spending Stumbles, May and June Revised Up

May and June upward revisions total more than $44 billion, four times larger than July's decline

Total construction spending fell 1.3% in July, the first monthly decline since the 0.2% fall in March. But July's $10.3 billion decline was more than offset by upward revisions in the May and June numbers—$16.9 billion and $27.5 billion, respectively. Most major categories declined in July with the notable exceptions of retail, highway and street, and water and sewage construction spending. Nonetheless, year-to-date total construction spending was down 3.5% compared to the same period a year ago.

Reed Construction Data projects a 3.1% decline in total construction spending this year as the national economy continues to struggle through a period of slow growth amid problems in the Euro zone, uncertainty among U.S. businesses, and low levels of confidence among consumers. Still, some recent data, such as strong durable goods orders, suggest that the United States will avoid a recession.

(More on 2011 construction spending . . . )