WASHINGTON – U.S. construction spending rose 0.8 percent in February, double expectations, as private residential spending surged 1.3 percent to a record high, offsetting a drop in public construction, a government report showed on Monday.
Construction spending climbed to a record seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.185 trillion in February from an upwardly revised $1.176 trillion in January, the Commerce Department said.
The increase was twice Wall Street forecasts for a 0.4 percent gain and followed an upwardly revised 0.4 percent increase in January.
Private construction spending rose 1.2 percent in February to a record $931 billion, as residential spending surged 1.3 percent to a record $666 billion. Private non-residential spending rose 0.8 percent to $265 billion, the highest level since October 2001.
An increase in private construction spending on lodging, office, health care, religious, recreational and power facilities more than offset a decline in spending on construction of commercial, communication and manufacturing facilities, the report showed.
Public construction spending fell 0.5 percent to $254 billion in the first decline since September. Spending declined across many categories, including office, commercial, recreation, transportation, power, water supply, and conservation and development. Public residential construction spending edged up 0.2 percent.