The chief economist for The Associated General Contractors of America said new spending figures are encouraging for the construction industry. “Nonresidential construction spending rose an impressive 1.3 percent in March and 12 percent compared to March 2007,” said Ken Simonson, chief AGC economist. He was commenting on the March construction spending figures released by the Census Bureau on May 1. “The housing slump buried this news by dragging total spending down by 1.1 percent for the month and 3.4 percent for the year. Yet nearly every category of nonresidential spending continued to exceed year-ago levels.

“In addition, estimates for nonresidential spending in January and February were each revised up, suggesting that gross domestic product (GDP) may have grown a little more in the first quarter,” Simonson added.