While total construction spending edged up in September, private non-residential construction slipped 1.6%, according to the November 1 report by the U.S. Census Bureau. On a year-over-year basis, private non-residential construction spending is down 24.6%. Meanwhile, total non-residential construction spending, which includes both privately and publicly financed projects, was flat for the month and is down 12.4% from September 2009 and now stands at $559.6 billion on a seasonally adjusted annual rate.

Construction subsectors posting the largest monthly decreases were lodging, down 7.8%; manufacturing, 3.5% lower; and conservation and development-related construction, down 3.1%. Subsectors suffering the biggest losses from the same time last year include lodging, down 53%; manufacturing, down 35.5%; and office construction, 24.5% lower.

In contrast, nine of 16 non-residential construction subsectors posted spending increases from the previous month led by transportation, up 4.1%; health care, 1.8% higher; office, up 1.6%; and amusement and recreation-related construction, up 1.6%. Five subsectors are up, compared to the same time last year, including conservation and development, up 25.5%; sewage and waste disposal, 13.9% higher; and water supply construction, up 7.7%.

Public non-residential construction spending, which represents 55.3% of total non-residential construction, was up 1.3% for the month and up 0.7% year-over-year. Residential construction spending was up 1.8% for the month, but is down 5.3% compared to September 2009. Total construction spending was up 0.5% in September compared to August, but down 10.4% compared to the same time last year.