WASHINGTON (AP) — Spending on U.S. construction projects edged down a slight 0.2% in December, closing out a year when total construction registered its first annual decline in eight years.
The Commerce Department said Monday that the decline was the first monthly drop since a 0.9% fall in June. For the year, construction spending fell 0.3%, the first setback since a 2.6% decrease in 2011.
The fall-off reflects weakness in nonresidential construction, which fell 1.8%, the sharpest setback drop since April. Spending for most major categories from office building to shopping centers declined.
Home building rose a solid 1.4%. This category continues to benefit from falling mortgage rates and a strong labor market.
Spending by the federal government on construction projects rose a sharp 2.1% in December to the highest level in seven years, but this was offset by a 0.6% drop in the larger state and local government category.