Newly built homes and schools boosted U.S. construction spending in October to the highest level since May.

The Commerce Department says construction spending rose 1.1 percent in October, after having slipped 0.1 percent in September.

Fueling the gains in October was a 1.8 percent increase in spending on single-family houses. A similar boost in building schools increased government construction spending 2.3 percent, while private construction of power plants and commercial centers slipped in October.

Still, the solid growth in homebuilding underlines that sector's weakness during much of the past year. Over the past 12 months, private residential construction spending has risen just 1.9 percent to an annualized rate of $353.8 billion.

Total construction spending has climbed 3.3 percent from a year ago to $971 billion.