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January Construction Spending Beats Forecast

Construction spending saw an unexpected—albeit slight—uptick in January, according to monthly data released by the Census Bureau.

The government’s latest report shows spending on all construction projects was up 0.1 percent from December, coming to an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of $943.1 billion. That figure is 9.3 percent ahead of January 2013’s estimate of $863.1 billion.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.5 percent decline in spending to follow December’s originally reported 0.1 percent improvement.

Private construction spending led the way, gaining 0.5 percent month-over-month to an annual adjusted rate of $670.8 billion. Spending on private homebuilding projects was at a rate of $359.9 billion, 1.1 percent above December’s revised estimate.

Breaking down the numbers, spending on new single-family construction was at a rate of $186.0 billion, up 2.3 percent month-over-month, while multifamily spending came to $36.3 billion, up just 1.0 percent.

On the public side, spending was down 0.8 percent to an adjusted rate of $272.3 billion, with residential projects contributing about $4.5 billion (down 13.4 percent compared to December).

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