U.S. Economy

     (CN) – U.S. construction spending fell in April by the largest amount in five years, the Commerce Department announced Wednesday.
     The government attributed the plunge to marked declines in commercial construction, new housing starts and spending on government projects.
     It said construction spending dropped 1.8 percent in April after a 1.5 percent gain in March. This was the biggest monthly decline since a 4.1 percent plunge in January 2011.
     Spending on housing fell 1.5 percent, while nonresidential building declined 1.5 percent and spending on government projects declined 2.8 percent.
     In other economic news, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday that unemployment rates were lower in April than a year earlier in 269 of the 387 metropolitan areas.
     The agency said 25 metro areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0 percent and seven areas had rates of at least 10.0 percent.
     Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 327 metropolitan areas, decreased in 54 areas, and was unchanged in 6 areas.
     The national unemployment rate in April was 4.7 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down from 5.1 percent a year earlier.
     The bureau also released an analysis comparing consumer spending in 2014 to spending in 1984.
     Government economists found that consumers spent a higher share of total spending in 2014 on healthcare, housing, personal insurance and pensions, education, and entertainment.
     Consumers in 2014 spent a smaller share on food, transportation, apparel and services, tobacco and smoking supplies, alcoholic beverages, and reading.
     The portion of total spending on personal care products and services as well as cash contributions in 2014 was about the same as that spent in 1984.

%d bloggers like this: