US construction spending picks up speed in November

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Washington (AFP)

US construction spending picked up in November, reaching the highest level since April 2006 -- well before the onset of the financial crisis, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

The 0.9 percent increase in total construction spending compared to October was driven by solid gains in private and public building projects, and jumped to an annual rate of $1.18 trillion, adjusted for seasonal factors. Spending was up more than four percent compared to November 2015,

Private and public spending increased for residential and non-residential construction, however, private spending on multi-family dwellings like apartment buildings declined 2.7 percent from the prior month, an issue that has been worrying realtors concerned about the tight supply of homes available for sale. However, the rate is nearly 11 percent higher than a year earlier.

Private spending on building projects hit its highest level since July 2006 reaching an annual rate of $892.8 billion, and jumped 4.6 percent compared to the same month of last year. However, spending on manufacturing dropped 1.1 percent in the month.

Public construction spending rose to $289.3 billion -- 2.6 percent higher than November 2015 -- but saw declines in spending in the month for sewage systems, transportation and public safety.

For the first 11 months of 2016, construction spending was 4.4 percent higher than the same period of 2015, at just under $1.1 trillion.