US construction spending hit record high in November

 
 
Updated 1/3/2018 10:10 AM
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  • In this Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, photo, workers build an apartment and retail complex in Nashville, Tenn. On Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, the Commerce Department reports on U.S. construction spending in November.

    In this Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, photo, workers build an apartment and retail complex in Nashville, Tenn. On Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, the Commerce Department reports on U.S. construction spending in November. Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- U.S. builders spent 0.8 percent more on construction projects in November, the fourth consecutive monthly gain.

November advance follows October's revised 0.9 percent gain, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The increase brought total construction spending for the month to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $1.26 trillion, an all-time high.

Private construction spending, which was up 1 percent from last month, also hit an all-time high.

The increase in spending by builders, along with a robust manufacturing report released separately Wednesday, underscores the solid momentum of the U.S. economy heading into the new year.

The November increase was led by a solid advance in homebuilding, which rose 1 percent from October as strength in single-family construction offset weakness in apartment building. Construction of single-family homes rose 1.9 percent in November, offsetting a 1.3 percent drop in apartment building.

Non-residential construction rebounded 0.9 percent in November after declining four of the last five months, led by office building, which rose 5.5 percent.

Spending on transportation construction was up 3.7 percent, putting it 42.2 percent higher than a year ago, the largest advance by far by any sector.

Government construction posted a modest 0.2 percent increase after much bigger gains in the previous three months. Federal construction spending plunged 4.8 percent, the biggest drop in five months. That weakness was offset by a 0.7 percent rise in state and local construction, which accounts for more than 90 percent of total government activity.

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