US construction spending down 1.3% in February

Business

The American flag flutters in the wind as work is done on the roof of a building under construction in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, March 31, 2020. While most Californian’s have spent more than a week under a mandatory stay-at-home order, because of the coronavirus, construction work is among the jobs exempt as part of the “essential infrastructure.” (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Spending on U.S. construction projects fell 1.3% in February with housing and nonresidential construction both showing weakness even before the coronavirus struck with force in the United States.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the February decline followed a 2.8% rise in construction in January. Economists are forecasting more declines to come, especially in housing activity as the stay-at-home orders in much of the country crimp home sales.

Home construction fell 0.6% in February with the weakness coming in home remodeling projects. Construction of single-family homes and apartments both showed gains.

Spending on nonresidential projects was down 2% with declines for office buildings, hotels and the category that covers shopping centers.

Government spending, which covers state and local building projects and the federal government, dropped 1.5%.

The various changes left total construction spending at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.37 trillion, up 6% from a year ago.

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