U.S construction spending increased by more than expected in May even as revised figures showed stronger than initially reported construction spending growth in April, according to figures released Monday by the Commerce Department.
The initial estimate for construction spending in May came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $830 billion, a 0.9 percent increase from revised April estimates.
Although most economists had expected construction spending to increase in May, most had predicted a far more modest 0.2 percent increase.
Furthermore, April construction spending figures were revised to show a 0.6 percent increase from March levels, notably stronger than the 0.3 percent growth initially reported.
The continued growth in construction spending was especially strong in the private sector, which recorded a 1.6 percent increase in May following a 1.3 percent increase in April.
Much of the growth in private construction spending came in the residential sector, which saw a 3 percent increase, while private non-residential construction spending grew by 0.4 percent.
In raw dollar terms, Commerce Department estimates put the total level of construction spending at its highest annual rate since December 2009, with private construction spending reaching the highest levels since October 2009.
The May construction spending estimate is a full 7 percent higher than the level recorded in May 2011.
Offsetting some of the growth in the private sector, public construction spending fell 0.4 percent in May, marking the fifth consecutive month of declining public sector construction spending.
A 5.6 percent increase in construction spending at the federal level was not enough to offset the 1 percent decline in construction spending at the state and local level, resulting in the overall decline.
Of the overall public construction spending, educational construction spending fell by 3 percent and highway construction spending fell 0.5 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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