US construction spending falls 0.8% in May

Building materials are stacked up near a new home under construction in Mechanicsville, Virginia.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spending on U.S. construction projects fell in May, the first drop in six months, as home building fell for a fifth straight month.

The Commerce Department reported Monday that spending fell 0.8% in May, the first decline since a 1.3% drop in November, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.29 trillion. Spending in April was revised up from a flat reading to a small gain of 0.4%.

The weakness in May was widespread, with spending on single-family homes and apartments down 0.6% while nonresidential construction fell 0.9%. Spending on government projects also dropped 0.9%, led by less construction spending by the federal government.

Spending on residential construction has been weak for months, but builders hope declining mortgage rates will spur a rebound.

The 0.6% decline in residential construction reflected a 0.8% fall in spending on new single-family homes partially offset by a 1.9% rise in the smaller apartment sector.

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