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U.S. Construction Spending Unexpectedly Slumps 1.3% In February

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A report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday showed an unexpected decrease in U.S. construction spending in the month of February.

The Commerce Department said construction spending slumped by 1.3 percent to an annual rate of $1.367 trillion in February after spiking by 2.8 percent to an upwardly revised rate of $1.385 trillion in January.

The pullback came as a surprise to economists, who had expected construction spending to climb by 0.6 percent following the 1.8 percent jump originally reported for the previous month.

The unexpected drop in construction spending reflected notable decreases in spending on both private and public construction.

Spending on private construction tumbled by 1.2 percent to an annual rate of $1.026 trillion, as spending on residential construction slid by 0.6 percent and spending on non-residential construction plummeted by 2.0 percent.

The report said spending on public construction also plunged by 1.5 percent to an annual rate of $340.9 billion, with spending on educational and highway construction both showing significant drops.

Despite the monthly decrease, the Commerce Department said total construction spending in February was up by 6.0 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

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