Headwinds Bedeviled Both Construction and Manufacturing in March

(CN) – U.S construction and factory growth both ran into headwinds in March, with builders cutting back on investment after a record high in activity a month earlier, and manufacturing growing at its slowest pace in eight months.

The Commerce Department said Monday that construction spending slipped 0.2 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted $1.218 trillion.

In February, it rose 1.8 percent to a record high of $1.22 trillion.

The decline in March reflected drops in nonresidential construction and in the government sector, which offset a strong increase in residential activity, the government said.

Residential construction was up 1.2 percent to the highest level since June 2007, a period dating back to the housing boom of the past decade. Investment in home building has now increased for six straight months.

Nonresidential building fell 1.3 percent in March as spending on office buildings and the category that covers shopping centers both fell. Government activity dropped 0.9 percent with weakness in the state and local level.

The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its manufacturing index slipped to 54.8 from 57.2 in March and 57.7 in February. Anything above 50 signals that manufacturing is growing.

New orders and hiring grew more slowly in April, but production and export orders sped up.

In other economic news, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said Monday that gross job gains exceeded gross job losses by 688,000 in the third quarter of 2016.

From June 2016 to September 2016, gross job gains were 7,650,000, and gross job losses totaled 6,962,000. Gross job gains exceeded gross job losses in 9 of 13 industries. Service-providing industries experienced a net job gain of 686,000 jobs, while goods-producing industries experienced a net job gain of 2,000 jobs.

 

 

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