According to the U.S. Census Bureau, private nonresidential spending rose 0.8% in July—the first increase since March 2009, despite a downturn in overall construction activity. However, year-to-year comparison yields a 23.7% decrease in this sector. Total nonresidential construction spending, including both privately and publicly funded construction, stands at $554.6 billion, down 0.3% from June and 16.6% since 2009.

The three subsectors demonstrating increased spending this month include power-related (+6.4%); communication (+4.8%); and amusement and recreation-related construction (+4.6%). Conservation and development (+12.2%); sewage and waste disposal (+9.9%); and water supply-related construction (+1.2%) all saw growth over last year.

The 10 subsectors that saw decreases from June to July: conservation and development (-12.9%); religious-related (-6.7%); manufacturing (-4.9%); highway and street (-2.8%); and commercial construction (-2.8%). Those subsectors posting the largest year-over-year decreases were lodging (-53.7%); manufacturing (-34.7%); and office construction (-33.6%).

Residential construction spending saw a 2.5% drop compared to June, but a 6% increase from the same time last year. Meanwhile, public non-residential construction spending was down 1.3% this month and 8.6% less since July 2009.