U.S. construction spending records biggest gain in two years

FILE PHOTO: Construction cranes are seen in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

(Reuters) - U.S. construction spending rebounded more than expected in April as investment in private construction projects notched its biggest gain since 2012, offsetting a drop in public outlays.

The Commerce Department said on Friday construction spending surged 1.8 percent, the largest increase since January 2016, after an unrevised 1.7 percent decline in March.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast construction spending rebounding 0.8 percent in April. Construction spending accelerated 7.6 percent on a year-on-year basis.

In April, spending on private construction projects jumped 2.8 percent, the largest increase since January 2012, reversing March’s 2.6 percent drop. Outlays on private residential projects shot up 4.5 percent, the biggest rise since November 1993, following a 4.1 percent plunge in March.

Spending on nonresidential structures rose 0.8 percent in April after falling 0.6 percent in the prior month.

Investment in public construction projects decreased 1.3 percent after rising 1.2 percent in March. Spending on federal government construction projects tumbled 10.2 percent. That followed a 1.8 percent increase in March.

State and local government construction outlays slipped 0.3 percent after rising 1.1 percent in March.