Total construction spending during May 2006 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.21 trillion, which is 6 percent higher than the rate in May 2005 and 0.4 percent below the revised April estimate, the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Commerce announced today.

And during the first five months of this year, construction spending amounted to $457.4 billion, or about 8.6 percent above the $421.1 billion reported for the same period in 2005.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of spending on private residential construction was about $651.2 billion in May, which is 0.8 percent below the revised April estimate and 2.4 percent above the May 2005 rate. The seasonally adjusted rate is a projection of a monthly total over a 12-month period, adjusted for seasonal fluctuations in construction activity.

Spending on all private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $939.4 billion, or 0.6 percent below the revised April estimate of $945.4 billion and 5.3 percent above the May 2005 level. Nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $288.2 billion in May, which is 0.3 percent below the revised April estimate of $289 billion and 12.7 percent above the May 2005 rate, the agencies reported.

The estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending was $266.8 billion in May, which is about 0.7 percent above the revised April estimate of $265.1 billion. Educational construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $69.1 billion, which is 0.5 percent above the revised April estimate of $68.8 billion. Highway construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $74.7 billion, which is 0.1 percent above the revised April estimate of $74.6 billion.

The agencies noted that month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics can show movements that are irregular. It can take two months to establish an underlying trend for total construction and as long as eight months for specific categories of construction, according to the report.

Statistics are estimated from several sources and surveys and are subject to sampling variability as well as non-sampling error including bias and variance from response, non-reporting, and under-coverage. Statistics for the current month are preliminary estimates subject to revision in following months as additional data become available.

In this report, revisions to the unadjusted and seasonally adjusted data were made back to January 2003.

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