Economic News Blog
Posted by: Steven Kline, Jr. 3. November 2015

Construction Spending is Booming

The value of construction put in place in September 2015 was $102,102 (millions of real dollars). This was the second month in a row the figure has been above $100,000, which are the first months above $100,000 since November 2007. Compared with one year ago, spending in September was up 24.8 percent. This was the fastest rate of month-over-month growth in the history of the dataset, which goes back to 1970. The month-over-month rate of growth has accelerated rapidly since August 2014. In fact, September was the fifth month in a row that the month-over-month rate of change has increased more than 20 percent. The annual rate of change is now 15.2 percent, which is the fastest rate of annual growth since February 1985 and just shy of the fastest rate of growth ever. 

With the Fed dithering on raising interest rates because of weak wage growth, weak GDP, fear of a falling stock market, government interest payments, the rising dollar, or whatever reason, another major bubble is being built in construction spending. The bubble in construction spending is happening as consumers are already starting to moderate their spending, which means the revenue may not be there to support all of the construction loans. Of course, the market may take care of this problem on its own as the real 10-year treasury rate is already rising year over year. Based on the chart below, a rising 10-year treasury rate (the red line below zero - a positive number - on this chart) always leads to a significant drop in the rate of change in construction spending (althought not necessarily a contraction).

Real construction spending is a good leading indicator for construction materialshardware, and HVAC industrial production.

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