In another positive sign for the slumping economy, U.S. construction spending rose 0.8 percent in November, boosted by a strong increase in public spending, according to the Commerce Department Thursday.
The value of construction rose to $865.1 billion, up from a revised $858.6 billion in October. Construction spending was up 4.6 percent from a year earlier, when it was valued at $826.7 billion.
The number exceeded the forecasts of analysts, who expected a rise of 0.6 percent.
Public construction rose 4.6 percent in November, while all private construction dropped 0.5 percent.
Private residential construction dropped 2.2 percent in November, while private nonresidential spending climbed 0.5 percent.
Recent economic data suggest the economy may be on the verge of recovery. Most recently, a gauge of factory activity, which has slumped in the recession, rose sharply on Wednesday.
However, an increase in jobless claims reported by the government Thursday took some of the gloss off recent optimism about an anticipated rebound. Analysts braced for an unemployment report on Friday that was expected to show more job losses.
Reuters contributed to this report.