image Residential and commercial construction is up and down in August — yeah, that doesn’t tell you much, does it? That’s because there’s no clear story to be told from the Census Bureau’s August 2011 construction figures.

Even when there seems to be a clear indicator — such-and-such is up 1.3% — those numbers are often plus/minus a bigger number, meaning they don’t mean much. (Ex.: If something is “up 1.3%, plus/minus 5.4%.”)

So keep in mind that these numbers are just a vague guide.

  • New multi-family construction was up 13.3% from July to August 2011, but only 0.8% from year to year.
  • Single-family construction dropped 3.5% comparing August 2011 to August 2010, although it was up slightly (0.8%) from July 2011.
  • In the commercial market, lodging construction took the biggest hit — it was down almost 7% from July to August, and down 31.7% from 2010.
  • On the plus side, construction of power plants was up almost 3% from July, but up almost 26% from year to year.

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