WASHINGTON Feb 1 U.S. construction spending
barely rose in December as spending on nonresidential structures
recorded its biggest drop since 2013, suggesting a mild downward
revision to the advance fourth-quarter GDP growth estimate.
Construction spending ticked up 0.1 percent after a
downwardly revised 0.6 percent drop in November, the Commerce
Department said on Monday.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast construction
spending rising 0.6 percent in December after a previously
reported 0.4 percent drop in November.
December's small increase and November's slightly steeper
decline could affect the government's fourth-quarter gross
domestic product estimate. The government reported on Friday
that the economy expanded at a 0.7 percent annual rate in the
final three months of the year.
Construction outlays increased 10.5 percent in 2015, the
biggest rise since 2005, after advancing 9.6 percent in 2014.
In December, construction spending was constrained by a 2.1
percent decline in nonresidential structures, which includes
factories and offices. That was the largest drop since January
2013. Outlays on private residential construction rose 0.9
percent, likely boosted by warm weather.
Overall, private construction spending fell 0.6 percent in
Public construction outlays shot up 1.9 percent. Spending
on state and local government construction projects, the largest
portion of the public sector segment, increased 2.3 percent.
Federal government construction outlays dropped 3.3 percent.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)