U.S. construction spending up 0.1 percent in December

WASHINGTON Mon Feb 3, 2014 10:01am EST

WASHINGTON Feb 3 (Reuters) - U.S. construction spending rose modestly in December to its highest level since March 2009, as a jump in private residential projects offset weakness in the public construction sector.

Construction spending was up 0.1 percent to an annual rate of $930.5 billion, the Commerce Department said on Monday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected an increase of 0.2 percent.

Construction spending in November was revised to show a 0.8 percent rise instead of the previously reported 1.0 percent increase.

The December construction spending data was buoyed by a 2.6 percent jump in private residential construction. Overall private construction spending increased 1.0 percent to an annual rate of $663.9 billion, the highest level since December 2008.

Public construction spending, however, fell 2.3 percent, its biggest drop in a year, with state and local outlays falling 2.7 percent. Federal construction spending was up 2.0 percent in the month. (Reporting by Paul Simao; Editing by Melissa Bland)

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