Construction Spending Flat

Washington, DC, August 1--Construction spending was flat in June, falling short of expectations, as outlays for private residential construction fell, the government said on Friday. Construction outlays were a seasonally adjusted $864.3 billion in June, the Commerce Department said, statistically unchanged from $864.1 billion in May. Analysts polled by Reuters had been expecting a 0.3 percent increase. Private residential construction, by far the largest construction spending category, slipped 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted $434.8 billion in June. It was the fourth monthly decline in a row for that category. Public construction spending rose one percent to $212.2 billion, and federal government spending was at a record high level of $17.8 billion. Private spending to build offices rose 3.1 percent, while commercial construction spending climbed 2.2 percent. Spending on power plants and factories fell. Residential construction and housing have boomed as mortgage interest rates that dipped to lows not seen since the early 1960s lured buyers. Mortgage rates have risen in recent weeks on anticipation of a strengthening of U.S. economic recovery.