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US construction spending falls 0.8% in October

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Spending on U.S. construction projects fell 0.8% in October, dragged down by declines in apartment and multi-family homebuilding.

Private construction spending declined 1% in October, the Commerce Department said Monday. That follows another significant 1.1% decline in September.

Overall private residential construction dipped 0.9%, with multifamily projects declining 1.6% in October after a 2.1% decline in September.

Spending on single-family home construction increased 1.6%, helping to offset some of the losses elsewhere in the private construction category during the month.

Last month, the government reported that U.S. home building jumped 3.8% in October, with developers anticipating steady demand.

Lower mortgage rates and a healthy job market with rising wages have boosted home sales and the demand for new homes. The average rate on a fixed 30-year mortgage last week was 3.68%, a historically low number.

In October, spending on government construction projects fell 0.2%, with state and local projects declining 0.3% and federal building increasing 0.6%. It was the first decline in overall government construction spending since June.

Over the past 12 months, increased government spending on construction has offset declines in private expenditures on building.

October’s overall decline follows a downward revision of September’s number from a 0.5% increase to a 0.3% decline.

During the first 10 months of 2019, overall construction after adjusting for seasonal variations came in at an annual rate of $1.09 trillion in October, down 1.7% from a year ago.

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