Construction spending declined between July and August to an annualized rate of $837 billion, but increased compared to August 2011, according to an analysis of federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

According to the report, total construction spending declined 0.6 percent for the month of August, when compared with July, but was up 6.5 percent from August 2011.

Within the private sector, multi-family construction experienced the largest monthly and annual gains, increasing by 3.7 percent for the month and 44.8 percent for the year. Single-family construction also surged, up 2.8 percent for the month and 20.8 percent for the year. Lodging and education construction experienced the highest rate of annual growth within the private nonresidential sector, up 33.7 and 22 percent respectively, while spending on the two segments declined by 0.1 and 0.9 percent for the month.

Private residential spending increased by 0.9 percent compared to July and was up 17.8 percent over last August. Private nonresidential construction, however, declined by 1.7 percent for the month, but was up 7.2 percent for the year. Public construction slid further, declining 0.8 percent in August and 3.5 percent year-over-year.

“The construction industry has definitely lost some of the momentum it had earlier this year,” says Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO for AGC. “With the exception of the lodging sector, many businesses are retreating from the levels of construction spending we saw in the spring and early summer.”

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