US construction spending edges up 0.1 percent in May although home building declines

The Associated Press

In this Friday, May 16, 2014 photo, cranes fill the skyline at the Brickell CityCentre construction site located in the center of the Brickell financial district in downtown Miami. The project is mixed use office, residential, hotel, retail and entertainment space. The Commerce Department reports on U.S. construction spending in May on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

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By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending barely increased in May as gains in spending on non-residential projects such as office buildings and public construction were largely offset by a big drop in home building.

The Commerce Department says construction spending edged up 0.1 percent in May after a much stronger 0.8 percent April increase. The back-to-back gains followed a period of weakness in which spending fell in both January and February and was flat in March.

The construction industry has struggled with an unusually severe winter which curtailed building activity in many regions.

Construction activity totaled $958.1 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in May, up 6.6 percent from a year ago.

Economists are forecasting that housing and overall construction will regain momentum in coming months, helping to boost overall economic growth.

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