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U.S. Construction Spending Unexpectedly Climbs 0.9% In March

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A report released by the Commerce Department on Friday showed an unexpected increase in U.S. construction spending in the month of March.

The Commerce Department said construction spending climbed by 0.9 percent to an annual rate of $1.361 trillion in March after tumbling by 2.5 percent to a revised $1.348 trillion in February.

The increase came as a surprise to economists, who had expected construction spending to plunge by 3.5 percent compared to the 1.3 percent slump originally reported for the previous month.

The unexpected rebound in construction spending came as spending on private construction rose by 0.7 percent to an annual rate of $1.013 trillion in March.

Spending on residential construction jumped by 2.3 percent to a rate of $550.3 billion, more than offsetting a 1.3 percent slump in spending on non-residential construction to a rate of $462.3 billion.

The report said spending on public construction also jumped by 1.6 percent to a rate of $348.0 billion, partly reflecting a 4.6 percent spike in spending on highway construction to a rate of $108.3 billion.

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