U.S. construction spending almost flat in July: Commerce Department

FILE PHOTO: A construction worker on the job at a residential project during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Encinitas, California, U.S., July 30, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. construction spending barely rose in July as an increase in outlays on private projects was almost offset by a plunge in public construction projects.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that construction spending edged up 0.1%. Data for June was revised to show construction outlays falling 0.5% instead of decreasing 0.7% as previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast construction spending would rebound 1.0% in July. Construction spending dipped 0.1% on a year-on-year basis.

Spending on private construction projects advanced 0.6%, boosted by investment in homebuilding amid record-low mortgage rates. Spending on residential projects surged 2.1%, eclipsing a 1.0% drop in outlays on nonresidential construction projects such as manufacturing and power plants.

Spending on public construction projects tumbled 1.3%.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci