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U.S. public construction - statistics & facts

In the United States, spending in construction makes up a significant portion of the country’s gross domestic produc (GDP) and public construction, a significant part of the construction industry. In 2018, a total of approximately 302 billion dollars was spent on new public construction alone. Public construction has come to essentially be part of the broad category of building, construction and infrastructural public works projects for use by the general public which is typically financed by state, local, or federal governments. The annual values for state and local government construction are usually significantly higher than that at the federal level.

Public construction can also—like private construction—be categorized into residential or non-residential construction projects. While the value of public residential construction spending experienced generally drastic fluctuations in value within the past decade, in contrast, non-residential construction has remained relatively stable. Public construction primarily consists of public building construction (e.g. for education and health care), transportation (e.g. bridges, railroads, streets and highways) as well as construction for public services (e.g. power facilities, water supply, sewage and waste disposal). In 2018, highway and street projects covered the largest share of the dollar value for public construction spending at 92.5 billion U.S. dollars.

Some of the leading engineering and public construction firms located in the United States include Texas-based Fluor Corporation, Jacobs Engineering, based in Pasadena, California, as well as AECOM, based in Los Angeles, California.

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