US construction spending up again, rises 0.3% in September

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SILVER SPRING, Md. — U.S. construction spending rose 0.3% in September, the fourth straight monthly gain after a coronavirus-caused spring swoon, although a smaller gain than analysts had expected.

The Commerce Department reported Monday that the September gain follows a downward revised gain of 0.8% in August. Spending on residential construction was strong yet again, with single-family home projects jumping 5.7%.

Demand for single-family homes remains healthy as buyers rush to the market pushed by historically low interest rates under 3%. A lack of existing homes for sale has builders rushing to fill the void with newly-constructed houses.

Total residential construction was up 2.7%, with total private construction up 0.9%.

Spending on government construction projects fell 1.7%, with declines everywhere except health care facilities, schools and waste disposal sites. Government spending on projects related to public safety and streets and highways both shrunk by more than 5%.

Spending on public projects has been expected to fall as the state and local governments collect less tax revenue from individuals and businesses because of the economic effects of coronavirus and related closures.

Spending on non-residential private construction fell by 1.5%, with churches and offices the only categories to see growth.

During the first nine months of 2020, construction spending is up 4.1% over the same period last year.

Matt Ott, The Associated Press