Nationwide spending on new-home construction fell 1.6 percent in November, continuing an uneven trajectory in 2009, according to numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of total U.S. construction spending was $900.1 billion, about 0.6 percent below the revised October estimate of $905.6 billion and about 13.2 percent below the November 2008 estimate of $1.04 trillion. This rate is a projection of a monthly construction estimate over a 12-month period, adjusted to account for typical seasonal variations in construction activity.

Private construction drove total spending at $581.2 billion, 0.7 percent below the revised October estimate of $585.5 billion and 20 percent below last November’s estimate of $726.8 billion.

Of private construction, residential spending made up $250.7 billion in November, down 1.6 percent from October’s $254.9 billion and 19.2 percent below last November’s $310.5 billion. The spending rate decreased from last November until April 2009, when it went up slightly.

Spending decreased in May and June; the latter saw the year’s lowest spending amount at $236.9 billion. Spending increased in July and August, and decreased in September. October saw a significant increase to $254.9 billion, followed by November’s slight decrease.

Construction spending during the first 11 months of 2009 amounted to $868.9 billion, or 12.7 percent below the
$994.9 billion for the same period in 2008.

Nonresidential private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $330.5 billion in November, largely unchanged from the revised October estimate of $330.6 billion.

The estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending in November was $318.8 billion, 0.4 percent below the revised October estimate of $320.1 billion.

The bureau notes that it may take two months to establish an underlying trend for total construction and as long as eight months for specific categories of construction. It also warns that the statistics in their release 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.


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