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U.S. Construction Spending Unexpectedly Tumbles 2.1% In May

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Construction spending in the U.S. unexpectedly saw a continued decrease in the month of May, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

The Commerce Department said construction spending tumbled by 2.1 percent to an annual rate of $1.356 trillion in May after plunging by 3.5 percent to a revised rate of $1.386 trillion in April.

The continued decrease came as a surprise to economists, who had expected construction spending to climb by 1.0 percent compared to the 2.9 percent slump originally reported for the previous month.

Construction spending continued to fall as a steep drop in spending on private construction more than offset a jump in spending on public construction.

The report said spending on private construction plunged by 3.3 percent to a rate of $1.001 trillion, as spending on residential construction plummeted by 4.0 percent to a rate of $535.9 billion and spending on non-residential construction slumped by 2.4 percent to a rate of $465.3 billion.

Meanwhile, spending on publican construction climbed by 1.2 percent to a rate of $355.2 billion, reflecting a 2.8 percent spike in spending on highway construction to a rate of $106.6 billion.

Despite another monthly decrease, the Commerce Department said total construction spending in May was up by 0.3 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

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