US construction spending rose 0.9 percent in May

Associated Press + More

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders increased their spending in May by the largest amount in five months. A surge in home building and an increase in nonresidential projects helped offset a fifth monthly decline in government building projects.

The Commerce Department says construction spending rose 0.9 percent in May, following a 0.6 percent rise in April. It was the biggest percentage gain since December.

The May increase pushed spending to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $830 billion. That is 11.3 percent above a 12-year low hit in February 2011. Still, the level of spending is roughly half of what economists consider to be healthy.

Residential construction rose 3 percent to an annual rate of $261.3 billion, further evidence that housing has finally started to mount a modest recovery.

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