The rate of construction spending in August was estimated at $1.2 trillion, which is 4.4 percent above the August 2005 estimate and 0.3 percent above the July estimate, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today.

Spending on private residential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $617 billion in August, which was 1.5 percent below the July estimate and 5.2 percent below the August 2005 rate. The seasonally adjusted annual rate is a projection of a monthly total over a 12-month period, adjusted for seasonal variations in construction activity.

During the first eight months of this year, construction spending amounted to $793.2 billion, which is 7.2 percent higher than spending in the same period last year.

Spending on all private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $929.1 billion, which is 0.1 percent above the revised July estimate of $927.9 billion. Nonresidential construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $312 billion in August, which is 3.4 percent above the revised July estimate.

The estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending was $271.6 billion in August, which is about 1.1 percent above the revised July estimate of $268.8 billion. Educational construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $70.7 billion, which is 0.7 percent above the revised July estimate of $70.2 billion. Highway construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $77.9 billion, which is 0.4 percent above the revised July estimate of $77.6 billion.

Month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics can show irregular movements, the Census Bureau reported. It may take two months to establish an underlying trend for total construction and as long as eight months for specific categories of construction.

Statistics are estimated from several sources and surveys and are subject to sampling variability as well as nonsampling error, including bias and variance from response, nonreporting, and undercoverage. Statistics for the current month are preliminary estimates subject to revision in following months as additional data become available, according to the report.

Beginning with the December 2006 release on Jan. 31, 2007, the construction spending report will be released on the last working day of the month, the Census Bureau announced.

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