U.S. Construction Spending Slows Sharply

Washington, U.S. construction spending slowed sharply in March, with weakness seen in several sectors, including the biggest drop in homebuilding in nine years, the government reported Tuesday.The Commerce Department said construction spending fell 1.7...

Washington, U.S. construction spending slowed sharply in March, with weakness seen in several sectors, including the biggest drop in homebuilding in nine years, the government reported Tuesday.

The Commerce Department said construction spending fell 1.7 percent, the biggest decline in 11 months. Economists expected March construction spending to increase 0.5 percent.

Total construction spending has been rising steadily since last August. Even with the March drop, spending at an annual rate of $1.28 trillion is close to record highs and 3.6 percent above year-ago levels.

Spending on private-sector construction projects fell 2.1 percent last month, the biggest drop since early 2011, following a 1.2 percent increase in February.

Spending on residential construction plunged 3.5 percent in March, the worst performance since April 2009, after rising 1.2 percent the previous month. Spending on volatile apartment construction dropped 2.7 percent while single-family home construction was down 0.4 percent. Spending on non-residential construction fell 0.4 percent last month, with office buildings and commercial projects like shopping centers both declining, after increasing 1.2 percent in February.

Investment in public-sector construction projects was unchanged in March after increasing 0.1 percent the previous month. Spending on federal government construction projects jumped 2.2 percent to the highest level in more than six years. State and local government construction spending fell 0.3 percent last month after being unchanged in February.

Source: Saudi Press Agency