Construction spending rises unexpectedly

Construction spending rises unexpectedly in June, new evidence housing may be bottoming

By Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Construction spending rose for the second time in three months in June as residential building increased, fresh evidence that the battered housing sector may be recovering.

The Commerce Department said Monday that construction spending increased by a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.3 percent in June, defying analysts’ estimates of a 0.5 percent drop. May construction spending was revised up to a 0.8 percent decline, from 0.9 percent.

Still, June’s $965.7 billion in spending was 10.2 percent below the year-ago level.

A 0.5 percent rise in residential construction, which had fallen 3.1 percent in May after rising 1.5 percent in April, drove last month’s overall increase. Public construction spending jumped 1 percent, the department said, the biggest increase since March.

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