Construction project spending fell from October to November, slipping as increases in homebuilding outlays were offset by declines across most other categories.
Total construction spending for November fell 0.3 percent from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $975 billion, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Economists polled by Econoday predicted a 0.5 percent pickup.
The government's estimate for construction spending in October was revised upward, reflecting a 1.2 percent monthly increase to a rate of $977.7 billion.
Through November, the Commerce Department estimates total 2014 construction spending amounted to $884.6 billion, a 5.7 percent increase over the same time last year.
The backslide in spending in November could impact the Bureau of Economic Analysis' first estimate of economic growth in the fourth quarter, which is due later this month. In the third quarter, gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 5 percent, with housing accounting for roughly 15.2 percent, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The group estimates homebuilding and remodeling contributed about 3.1 percentage points to that share.
According to the Commerce Department, spending on private construction came in at a rate of $697.7 billion in November, 0.3 percent above October's pace.
Residential construction was at a rate of $352.7 billion, up 0.9 percent from October as both single-family and multifamily spending gained around 1 percent.
In the public sector, construction outlays fell 1.7 percent to an adjusted rate of $277.3 billion. In contrast to nonresidential building expenses (which fell 1.8 percent), spending on homebuilding was up 3.5 percent to an annual rate of $5.3 billion.