U.S. builders boost spending 1.4 pct. in October
By Martin Crutsinger December 3, 2012 9:20AM
Updated: January 5, 2013 6:13AM
WASHINGTON — U.S. builders increased their spending on construction projects in October by the largest amount in five months, led by a surge in housing.
The Commerce Department said Monday that construction spending rose 1.4 percent in October. It was the largest gain since a 1.7 percent increase in May.
The increased construction spending to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $872.1 billion. That is nearly 17 percent higher than a 12-year low hit in February 2011.
Still, even with the gain, the level of spending remains only about half of what’s considered healthy.
Housing construction jumped 3 percent in October. Nonresidential construction rose 0.3 percent. The government said Superstorm Sandy, which hit in late October, had only a minimal impact on the figures.
The government said earlier this month that sales of new homes fell slightly in October, dragged lower by steep declines in the Northeast partly related to Superstorm Sandy. New-home sales were still 17 percent higher in October than the same month a year ago.
Strength in home building has been one of the bright spots for the economy this year. But overall construction is still being offset by weakness in commercial real estate and tight state and local government budgets.