• Construction spending increased slightly from July to August 2017. The Department of Commerce reported that spending rose to by 0.5% to $1,218 trillion.
• Construction spending was up 2.5% year-over-year in August, with spending in the first eight months of 2017 4.7% ahead of the same time period in 2016.
2017 started off strong, which created industry-wide expectations of strong construction spending throughout the year. Since March, construction spending has steadily declined, until a modest increase in this month’s report.
Rebuilding the South:
Spending is likely to pick back up as construction crews begin to rebuild the damages caused by multiple hurricanes throughout the South. Together, hurricanes Harvey and Irma left an estimated $200 billion worth of damages, according to Moody’s.
The skilled labor shortage is proving to be an ongoing problem, which could impact the speed of rebuilding the South. According to Slate, labor conditions, today are more strained than they were immediately following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. This summer, the Associated General Contractors of America conducted a survey finding that seven in 10 contractors across the U.S. reported difficulty in finding qualified workers, even before the hurricanes.
Trump’s Infrastructure Plan:
Many hope to see construction spending increase from President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan. However, there is a lack of detail and timeline for the program, though the White House has said it expects to release a formal plan this fall. Still, lawmakers likely won’t debate on the issue until sometime next year.
For more information, read the full construction spending report here.