(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Spending on U.S. construction projects rose in December, ending a year in which construction activity increased for the first time in six years, the government reported Friday.
The Commerce Department said construction spending rose to an annual rate of 885 billion in December, up 0.9 percent from the previous month, when spending increased a slight 0.1 percent.
For all of 2012, construction spending totaled 850.2 billion, a gain of more than 9 percent from 2011, when construction spending had fallen 3.3 percent. Despite the increase, construction activity is 27 percent below the record high of 1.17 trillion set in 2006, the peak of the housing boom.
Construction has seen a slow recovery, led by housing gains. In December, housing and non-residential construction posted gains, but spending on government projects fell. The construction gains are helping the overall economy, and the sector has added about 100,000 jobs over the past four months.
In December, spending on residential projects rose 2.2 percent, the ninth consecutive monthly gain. Spending on non-residential projects rose 1.8 percent following a 0.3 percent decline in November.
Spending on government projects fell 1.4 percent to 270.1 billion, the lowest level since late 2006. Government activity has been limited by tight budgets. December spending on state and local government projects fell 1.7 percent, while spending on federal projects fell 1.3 percent.