Power plant construction up 3 percent in April

Power plant construction spending increased more than 3 percent in April, according to analysis from the Associated General Contractors of America.

Overall construction spending increased by less than half a percent in April. That followed downward revisions to March spending figures. The gains, however, were tempered by declining levels of public investment in construction.

“Overall economic conditions seem better than they have been for several years, which normally leads to well-rounded construction growth,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But these figures may be deceptively positive, masking weakening public sector demand.”

April results were boosted by a 0.5 percent rise in private nonresidential construction and a 3.1 percent jump in private residential spending. Power construction spending increased 3.2 percent. Decreases of 1.3 percent were reported in commercial construction and 1 percent in manufacturing construction.

Association officials said the mixed results show the importance of enacting long-term infrastructure funding bills, as well as having a tax and regulatory environment that encourages private investment in structures.

“Economic recovery will remain sluggish and uneven unless construction and the sectors that depend on it share in growth,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

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