US construction activity slips 0.2 percent in December

U.S. builders trimmed spending slightly in December as a gain in private projects was offset by a big drop in spending on government projects.

The Commerce Department says construction spending fell 0.2 percent after hitting the highest point in more than a decade in November. Spending on private projects actually kept rising in December, climbing by 0.2 percent. But government activity fell 1.7 percent, reflecting cutbacks at the state and local level.

The strength last month came in housing construction, which jumped 0.5 percent with gains in single-family homes and apartments. Spending on nonresidential activity was flat as spending on hotels, factories and transportation projects all declined.

Economists are looking for housing construction to be a key sector supporting overall economic growth in 2017.