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U.S. Construction Spending Slumps Much Less Than Expected In April

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While a report released by the Commerce Department on Monday showed a sharp pullback in U.S. construction spending in the month of April, the decrease was much smaller than economists had expected.

The Commerce Department said construction spending tumbled by 2.9 percent to an annual rate of $1.346 trillion in April after inching up by less than a tenth of a percent to a revised $1.387 trillion in March.

Economists had expected construction spending to show an even more substantial 6.5 percent nosedive following the 0.9 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

The steep drop in total construction spending reflected significant decreases in spending on both private and public construction.

Spending on private construction plunged by 3.0 percent to an annual rate of $1.004 trillion, as spending on residential construction plummeted by 4.5 percent and spending on non-residential construction slumped by 1.3 percent.

The report said spending on public construction also tumbled by 2.5 percent to an annual rate of $342.1 billion, with spending on educational construction sinking by 2.3 percent and spending on highway construction plunging by 5.2 percent.

Despite the monthly decrease, the Commerce Department said total construction spending in April was up by 3.0 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

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