Photo: Leila Navidi/Star Tribune, June 2, 2015.

Photo: Leila Navidi/Star Tribune, June 2, 2015.

U.S. construction spending hit a new post-recession high in July, reinforcing the industry's position as a pillar of the economy.

Total construction activity rose in July to a seasonally adjusted rate of $1.08 trillion, a 0.7 percent increase from the revised June spending of $1.07 trillion, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

While month-to-month construction spending can be unreliable for drawing longterm trend, the growth has been consistent throughout the year. Actual spending in the first seven months of 2015 grew 9.3 percent compared to the same period in 2014. This is the highest level in more than seven years.

The Commerce Department data captures the cost of labor, materials, architectural and engineering work, interest and taxes, overhead costs and contractors' profits.

Private nonresidential construction led the way, accounting for $407 billion in activity -- a 1.5 percent change over the revised June estimate and more than 18 percent over the same month last year. Private residential, which includes multifamily complexes and single-family homes, rose 1.1 percent compared to the revised June estimate and by 15.6 percent compared to July 2014.

Total public spending dropped in July by 1 percent, but has increased 6 percent during the first seven months of 2015 compared to the same period last year. 

In the past 12 months, total construction spending has risen 13.7 percent. 

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