U.S. construction spending posts biggest gain in five months

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 02, 2014 10:02 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec 2 (Reuters) - U.S. construction spending rose more than expected in October as both private and public outlays increased, which could ease concerns of a sharp slowdown in fourth-quarter economic growth.

Construction spending rose 1.1 percent, the largest gain since May, to an annual rate of $970.99 billion, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.

September's construction outlays were revised up to show only a 0.1 percent drop instead of the previously reported 0.4

percent fall. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast construction spending rising 0.6 percent in October.

The upbeat construction data suggests some momentum in the economy early in the fourth quarter. Weak durable goods orders data has raised concerns of a sharp moderation in the pace of growth in the final three months of the year.

The economy grew at a 3.9 percent annual pace in the third quarter.

In October, private construction spending increased 0.6 percent, with outlays on residential projects recording their biggest rise since December of last year. Residential spending was boosted by increases in both single and multi-family homes as well as renovations.

Enough's Enough
Walter E. Williams

Spending on public construction projects increased 2.3 percent in October, buoyed by a 19.3 percent surge in federal government outlays, the largest such increase since October of 2006.

State and local government investment increased 0.9 percent after two straight months of declines.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)