WASHINGTON May 1 U.S. construction spending
rose less than expected in March as outlays on public projects
fell for a fifth consecutive month.
Construction spending increased 0.2 percent to an annual
rate of $942.5 billion, the Commerce Department said on
Thursday. Construction spending in February was revised to show
a 0.2 percent drop instead of the previously reported 0.1
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.5 percent
increase in construction outlays in March.
Gains in construction spending were tempered by a 0.6
percent fall in outlays on public construction. Public
construction spending hit its lowest level since November 2006.
That reflected a 2.4 percent decline in spending by the
federal government. State and local government spending fell 0.4
percent, dropping for a fifth straight month.
In contrast, spending on private construction projects rose
0.5 percent in March to the highest level since December 2008.
Private residential construction hit its highest level since
May 2008, reflecting gains in both single and multi-family home
building. The gains also reflected the impact of remodeling
The housing market recovery has stalled since interest rates
started rising last year and investment in home building
contracted in the first three months of this year for a second
Spending on nonresidential construction projects, which
include factories and office building, rose 0.2 percent in
(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)