WASHINGTON -- In another boost for the economy, construction spending picked up in February as home builders moved to address the growing demand and shortage of supply in the housing market.
The value of public construction also rose in February from the prior month, offering hopeful signs that state and local government spending may be stabilizing even as federal budget cuts start to take hold.
Overall, private and public construction spending rose 1.2% in February from the prior month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $885.1 billion, the Commerce Department reported Monday. That's slightly better than what most analysts had forecast, and it came after a 2.1% drop in January.
Private construction spending increased 1.3% in February, to $613 billion. That's up 12.6% from a year ago but far below the pre-recession level in excess of $900 billion.