The money spent on construction dropped again in February, according to new government figures released Wednesday. However, the fall was less pronounced than in the previous month and was not as steep as experts had predicted.
Increased spending on government projects helped buoy the numbers, but sharp declines continued in home building.
The U.S. Commerce Department revealed Wednesday that construction spending fell by 0.9 percent in February. This represented the fifth consecutive month of declines.
February's decline followed a revised drop of 3.5 percent in January and a fall of 3.1 percent in December.
Economists had expected a decline of about 2 percent.
Weakness in home building continued to weigh on the numbers, with the fall in residential construction accelerating during the month. However, a rise in government spending offset some of the decline.
Private construction dropped 1.6%, after dropping by 4.0 percent in the previous month.
Private residential construction, which is seen as a gauge of health in the home building sector, dropped by 4.3 percent, accelerating after a fall of 3.7 percent in January.
The $275.1 billion spent on private residential construction in February was the lowest total since late 1997.
Public construction was up 0.8% in February. This followed declines of 2.4 percent and 3.1 percent in January and December, respectively.
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