Construction Spending Up As 2017 Came to a Close

(CN) — The Commerce Department announced Thursday that construction spending rose 0.7 percent in December, reaching a record high.

In a report released Thursday morning, the department said, December was the fifth consecutive month to show a gain in construction activity.

The analysis says over the course of the year, construction spending rose a total 3.8 percent — the sixth consecutive annual increase.

For the year, spending totaled $1.23 trillion. The 3.8 percent gain for the entire year followed increases of 11 percent in 2014, 10.7 percent in 2015 and 6.5 percent in 2016.

For December, spending on housing projects rose 0.5 percent while nonresidential construction was up a stronger 1.1 percent.

Spending on government projects rose 0.3 percent as strength at the federal level offset a drop in state and local construction, the department said.

Residential construction was up 10.6 percent for all of 2017 while nonresidential building showed a slight 0.6 percent increase.

Spending on government projects fell 2.5 percent, the second straight annual decline. Spending by state and local governments was down 2.7 percent while spending by the federal government posted a small 0.3 percent increase.

In other economic news, the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reported Thursday that its manufacturing index dipped to 59.1 in January from a revised 59.3 in December. But any reading above 50 signals growth, and U.S. factories have been expanding for 17 straight months.

Among 18 manufacturing industries, 14 grew in January, led by textile mills and makers of fabricated metal products. Export orders grew faster, while manufacturers’ new orders, production and hiring increased more slowly.

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