For the third consecutive month in February, construction spending increased, despite expert reports of the sector softening.
Construction spending grew 1 percent in February and 2.5 percent in January over the previous year, according to the latest seasonally adjusted Census data. After upward revisions, the pace of construction activity in 2019 is the strongest since the summer of 2018, MarketWatch reports. Economists say that the bounce back in activity may be the sector balancing out after surprising softening at the end of 2018. They also cite the partial government shutdown and winter weather disruptions for making construction more volatile.
Whatever the case, the construction industry is still not expanding as rapidly as it was a few years ago. The annual rate of spending topped 10 percent in 2014 and 2015, but investment has only risen 1.1 percent in the past 12 months.
Home builders and commercial construction companies turned cautious last year as interest rates surged and the Trump White House fought a pitched battle over free trade with many key trading partners.