RTTNews - Spending on building projects unexpectedly rose in June, according to new government statistics released Monday. An increase in government spending helped offset a mild retreat from the private sector.

The U.S. Commerce Department revealed that construction spending rose 0.3 percent in June to a level of $965.7 billion. This followed a revised 0.8 percent slide in May.

Economists had expected the figure to fall again during the month.

Still, June's construction spending number was 10.2 percent below levels seen in the same period last year.

Private construction spending slipped 0.1 percent, the Commerce Department said.

However, residential construction spending - a key measure for the home building sector - was up 0.7 percent overall, including a 0.5 percent increase from the private sector and a 4.6 percent boost from government sources.

The report showed that public construction spending in total rose 1.0 percent from May, including a 0.4 percent increase for educational construction and a 0.2 percent rise in highway construction.

The better-than-expected result for construction spending is the latest in a string of reports that have suggested at least a stabilization in the housing market.

Last week, the government said that sales of newly built homes jumped 11 percent in June to an annual rate of 384,000 units. This was followed by the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, which indicated an overall rise in home prices for May.

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