U.S. Construction Spending Unexpectedly Edges Down 0.1% In May

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Reflecting a decrease in spending on public construction, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing an unexpected dip in U.S. construction spending in the month of May.

The report showed construction spending edged down by 0.1 percent to an annual rate of $1.780 trillion in May after climbing by 0.8 percent to an upwardly revised rate of $1.783 trillion in April.

The modest decrease came as a surprise to economists, who had expected construction spending to rise by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.2 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month.

The slight pullback in construction spending came as spending on public construction slid by 0.8 percent to an annual rate of $343.8 billion.

Spending on educational construction fell by 0.4 percent to an annual rate of $78.4 billion, while spending on highway construction tumbled by 2.3 percent to an annual rate of $98.1 billion.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said spending on private construction came in at an annual rate of $1.436 trillion in May, virtually unchanged from the previous month.

While spending on residential construction edged up by 0.2 percent to an annual rate of $938.2 billion, spending on non-residential construction decreased by 0.4 percent to an annual rate of $497.8 billion.

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