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US construction spending increases 0.6 percent in August to highest level in more than 4 years

Spending on U.S. construction projects rose at a solid pace in August, helped by further gains in residential building. Overall construction activity climbed to the highest level in more than four years.

The Commerce Department says construction spending increased 0.6 percent in August compared with July when spending increased a strong 1.4 percent. The July gain was revised to show an increase that was more than double the initial estimate.

Total construction rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $916.1 billion, the fastest pace since April 2009. The strength in construction should help the overall economy, which has been struggling this year with the adverse effects of government tax increases and spending reductions.

The August gain reflected a solid rise in housing activity, which was up 1.2 percent.