U.S. construction spending up in Sept

WASHINGTON Mon Nov 2, 2009 10:01am EST

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WASHINGTON Nov 2 (Reuters) - U.S. construction spending made its largest gain in a year in September, the Commerce Department said on Monday, bolstered by a record pace in public construction and the biggest increase in private residential building in more than six years.

The Commerce Department said spending on construction projects rose 0.8 percent to $940.3 billion, after dropping 0.1 percent in August. Spending originally was reported as rising 0.8 percent in August.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected spending to fall 0.2 percent.

Public construction, fueled by billions of dollars of capital works spending in the U.S. economic stimulus plan, rose 1.3 percent to $326.4 billion, an all-time high, after falling 1.1 percent in August. State and local construction, which was up 1.4 percent after being down 0.5 percent in August, also reached an all-time high.

Home building rose 3.9 percent, its largest gain since rising 4.2 percent in July 2003, in a sign that strength may be returning to the devastated housing market. The prior month's increase was revised down to 3.8 percent from the previously reported 4.7 percent. (Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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