Construction Spending Rose a Slight 0.1 Percent in July

(CN) — Spending on construction projects across the United States edge up 0.1 percent in July, led by an increase in homebuilding and the publicly funded building of schools and highways, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

The slight uptick in the numbers brought total construction spending to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $1.32 trillion.

Construction on public projects, a category that includes roads, highways, schools and government facilities, rose an overall 0.7 percent in July, led by a healthy 2.1 percent rise in school construction.

Nonresidential construction, which includes offices, stores, factories and other buildings, fell 0.3 percent in July.

In other economic news, the Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday its manufacturing index jumped last month to 61.3 from 58.1 in July.

Anything over 50 signals growth, and U.S. manufacturing is on a 24-month winning streak. Sixteen of 18 manufacturing industries expanded in August, led by makers of electronic equipment, clothing, textiles and paper products.

New orders, production and inventories all grew faster in August. And factories stepped up hiring, said the Institute, which is a trade group of purchasing managers.

The U.S. economy expanded at a brisk 4.2 percent annual pace in the second quarter, nearly doubling the growth rate for gross domestic product during the first three months of the year. The private construction component of GDP rose 2.1 percent during the first quarter.

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