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U.S. construction spending unexpectedly drops but slightly

Staff Writer |
Construction spending in the U.S. unexpectedly decreased in the month of January, according to the Commerce Department.

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The report said construction spending slumped by 1.0 percent to an annual rate of $1.180 trillion in January from the revised December estimate of $1.192 trillion. Economists had expected spending to climb by 0.6 percent.

The revised December estimate was up by 0.1 percent compared to November and reflected the highest level of spending since April of 2006.

The unexpected drop in construction spending reflected a decrease in spending on public construction, which plunged by 5.0 percent to $268.7 billion in January from $282.8 billion in December.

Spending on educational construction tumbled by 2.7 percent to $69.2 billion, while spending on highway construction slumped by 3.3 percent to $86.7 billion.

On the other hand, the report spending on private construction edged up by 0.2 percent to $911.6 billion in January from $909.4 billion in December.

While spending on non-residential construction was nearly unchanged at $435.3 billion, spending on residential climbed by 0.5 percent to $476.4 billion.

The Commerce Department noted that total construction spending in January was up by 3.1 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

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