MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending fell in November for the first time in 17 months, reflecting weakness in spending on hotel and other private nonresidential construction and government projects.
Construction spending dipped 0.4 percent in November following a 0.3 percent increase in October, the Commerce Department reported Monday. It was the first decline in activity since a 0.7 percent dip in June 2014.
Home construction increased 0.3 percent but nonresidential construction was down 0.7 percent, reflecting declines in a variety of categories including hotels, shopping centers and manufacturing plants.
Government construction was also down in November, declining by 1 percent, the third straight drop. State and local spending fell 0.4 percent and the smaller federal category dropped 7.2 percent.
Construction, fueled by gains in housing, has been a positive for the economy and analysts look for further support in 2016.
The decline in overall activity in November still left construction spending at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.12 trillion, 10.5 percent higher than a year ago.
The November rise in home construction reflected a 0.6 percent increase in spending on single-family homes which offset a 0.7 percent drop in spending on apartment construction.
The decline in nonresidential construction was led by a 4 percent drop in spending in manufacturing, a sector that has struggled over the past year with weakness in major export markets and also a stronger dollar, which makes American products less competitive overseas.
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