The Marcum Commercial Construction Index for the first quarter of 2019 reports the highest levels of private nonresidential construction spending ever recorded. The index is produced by Marcum’s National Construction Services group.
Bolstered by increasingly strong spending in manufacturing construction, private nonresidential construction spending reached $460 billion in March, on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. This represented a gain of 2.1% from a year earlier. Manufacturing construction spending was $70.3 billion for the month, up 10.3%.
Public construction spending in March increased 9 percent year-over-year, to $314.6 billion. Spending in the highway and street category expanded 13.4 percent, surpassing power as the largest nonresidential construction subsector.
Spending in all 16 nonresidential construction subsectors totaled $775.2 billion in March, up 4.8% from a year ago. The greatest percentage gains were in water supply (13.8%), conservation and development (13.5%), and highway and street (13.4%). Only three subsectors—commercial, religious, and communication – registered declines for March as compared to a year earlier.
Nonresidential construction added 32,400 net new jobs in April and 163,000 year-over year. In parallel, the industry’s unemployment rate continued to fall, dropping 2.2 percentage points in April from the same month a year ago. The 4.7% unemployment rate in April was the lowest construction unemployment recorded for any April since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting this statistic in 2000.