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Construction Spending

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PURPOSE

To provide monthly estimates of the total dollar value of construction work done in the United States (including 50 states and the District of Columbia). The United States Code, Title 13, authorizes this program and provides for voluntary responses.

COVERAGE

Construction work done each month on new structures or improvements to existing structures for private and public sectors (in 50 states and the District of Columbia).

CONTENT

Data estimates include the cost of labor and materials, architectural and engineering work, overhead, interest and taxes paid during construction, and contractor’s profits.

FREQUENCY

Data collection and estimation activities begin on the first day after the reference month and continue for about three weeks. Reported data and estimates are for activity taking place during the previous calendar month. The survey has been conducted monthly since 1960.

METHODS

Composite estimates are based on mail-out/mail-back and interview surveys of selected construction projects and building owners, and estimates developed or compiled from other Census Bureau, federal agency, and private data sources. Directly measured (survey) estimates account for 65 percent of total monthly Value of Construction Put in Place; other estimates cover the remaining 35 percent of work done.

The Construction Progress Reporting Surveys are mail-out/mail-back surveys of owners of sampled construction projects that collect data on expenditures for 4 types of construction: privately-owned nonresidential construction, state and local construction, privately-owned multi-family, and federal construction projects.

Projects are selected using stratified systematic sample procedures. Privately-owned nonresidential, state and local, and federal projects are selected from lists compiled by McGraw-Hill Construction, (and supplemented with a small sample of projects in non-permit issuing areas), with strata based on type of construction and estimated project value. Multi-family projects are a sub-sample of multi-unit projects identified in the Survey of Construction, with strata based on building location and number of housing units.

Owners of selected projects report on the value of work done each month from project start through completion. These four surveys currently cover about 6,500 private nonresidential; 10,500 state and local; 1,500 multi-family; and 700 federal projects each month.

The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) is a personal interview survey of 7,500 owner-occupied housing units. Monthly Value Put in Place data for residential improvements to owner-occupied housing units are derived from CE.

Other estimates are developed or compiled for the Value of Construction Put in Place through various sources and surveys. Examples include estimates of new home construction activity for houses identified in the Survey of Construction; expenditures for railroad construction obtained from the Surface Transportation Board; and data on cable television construction obtained from industry trade association statistics.

PRODUCTS

Value of Construction Put in Place press releases are issued on the first working day of each month, 2 months after the reference month. Data are shown by type of construction in seasonally adjusted annual rate and unadjusted dollars. Statistics are available at the U.S. level monthly, and by division, region, and state annually for selected categories.

USERS

The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses these data directly in producing GDP statistics. Other government agencies and construction-related businesses use the data for economic forecasts, market research, and financial decision making.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Provide a designated principal economic indicator and a major source of data for monthly estimates of fixed capital investment.


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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Construction Spending Survey | (301) 763-1605  Last Revised: March 26, 2013