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US construction spending increases 0.9% in March

Workers put up a building under construction on Dec. 3, 2019, in Philadelphia. U.S. construction spending edged up 0.9% in March as building activity escaped the early effects of the coronavirus shutdowns. The Commerce Department said that the increase followed a 2.5% drop in spending in February.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Workers put up a building under construction on Dec. 3, 2019, in Philadelphia. U.S. construction spending edged up 0.9% in March as building activity escaped the early effects of the coronavirus shutdowns. The Commerce Department said that the increase followed a 2.5% drop in spending in February.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending edged up by 0.9% in March as building activity escaped the early effects of the coronavirus shutdowns.

The Commerce Department said that the increase followed the 2.5% drop in spending seen in February. Economists had been forecasting another decline in March as shutdown policies to contain the spread of the virus started to take hold.

Although the total figure for spending did not decline in March, analysts believe big drops in activity will start showing up in the April report, given the results already seen in other parts of the economy.

For March, residential construction rose by 2.3% as strength in apartment construction offset a drop in the building of single-family homes.

Nonresidential construction fell 1.3%, and spending for hotels and office buildings also declined.

Spending on government projects was up 1.6% in March.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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