Heavy construction spending on roads, bridges and other infrastructure increased 1 percent in July for total growth of 6 percent above the year’s low point in February.
That’s still 6 percent below the stimulus-boosted peak level last fall, according to Reed Construction Data economist Jim Haughey.
The current gain came from a large jump in private power construction accounted for all of the gain and covered a 3-percent drop in highway spending.
“This sector is extremely volatile,” Haughey said.
The July gain is counter to the declining trend expected throughout next year. In fact, industry officials predict the level of heavy construction spending will be essentially unchanged from now to the end of 2011.
Heavy construction spending is now forecast to rise about 2 percent during the next year, offsetting recent downward revisions.
Haughey said industry leaders hope to see an improving economy which generates more private site work and capacity needs. That will, in turn, offset the combination of worsening state and local government budget positions and the continued ebbing of the stimulus impact.