WASHINGTON, D.C. — Total construction spending — which includes both nonresidential and residential — slipped 0.1 percent in January 2012, but was up 7.1 percent compared with January 2011, according to the March 1, 2012, report by the U.S. Commerce Department.

Total nonresidential construction spending decreased 0.8 percent in January to $566.4 billion; however, total nonresidential construction spending was up 7.9 percent from January 2011. Private nonresidential construction spending was down 1.5 percent for the month but was 16.6 percent higher than one year ago. Public nonresidential construction spending was down 0.1 percent for January but was up 0.4 percent from the same time last year. Residential construction spending increased 1.6 percent in January and was 5.4 percent higher than the same time last year.

Five of the 16 nonresidential construction subsectors posted spending increases for the month, including water supply, up 9.7 percent; amusement and recreation, 2.1 percent higher; transportation, up 1 percent; health care, up 0.9 percent; and public safety, up 0.3 percent. Eleven of the 16 subsectors posted increases in year-over-year spending, including manufacturing, up 38.3 percent; power, up 24.4 percent; and health care, up 9.7 percent.

“A handful of construction segments experienced monthly spending growth, including transportation, water/sewer, and public safety, which may be reflective of stabilizing state and local government capital budgets,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

Comments