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US construction spending flat as commercial building falls

In this Feb. 26, 2018, photo, construction workers work this week on a new townhouse in Wood-Ridge, N.J. The Commerce Department reported on Thursday on U.S. construction spending held steady in January. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

In this Feb. 26, 2018, photo, construction workers work this week on a new townhouse in Wood-Ridge, N.J. The Commerce Department reported on Thursday on U.S. construction spending held steady in January. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

By CHRISTOPHER RUGABER
AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spending on U.S. construction projects was unchanged in January, held back by a sharp fall in commercial-real-estate building.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that spending on the construction of single-family homes rose by 0.6 percent in January and spending on apartment building fell. The construction of commercial projects, such as office towers and malls, fell 2.7 percent. Construction spending on new power plants plunged 6.2 percent.

Construction spending rose in 2017 at the slowest pace in six years, as homebuilders struggled to find enough workers and enough cheap land to build on. Total spending on private construction fell by 0.5 percent in January.

States and the federal government have made up for some of the decline, increasing their construction spending by 1.8 percent in January. Federal spending soared 14.9 percent to the highest level in more than seven years.

Spending on highway and road building rose 4.4 percent and the construction of schools increased 2.1 percent.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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