WASHINGTON — Construction spending rose 0.6% in August to the largest since April 2009, powered by increases in residential construction, delayed data released by the Commerce Department Tuesday morning showed.

Private residential construction spending rose 1.2%, led by a 3.2% increase in multifamily construction and a 1.6% rise in the construction of single-family homes. Residential construction excluding new homes, which captures home remodelling, rose 0.2% after a 0.5% increase in July.

The boost in private residential construction also helped bring the level of spending to a $340.2 billion annual rate, which is the highest since August 2008. Total construction spending in August is at a $915.1 billion annual rate - the highest since April 2009.

Public construction rose for the fourth consecutive month, increasing by 0.4%. The gains in transportation construction, highway and street construction and public safety helped support the overall increase.

Nonresidential private construction was up 0.1%, led by the 1.5% jump in office construction spending, communications (+1.5%), and amusement & recreation (+5.4%). Construction spending on commercial, power, and education declined.

Overall, the 0.6% increase in construction spending was better than 0.4% median expectation of economists surveyed by MNI. It was also the largest increase since July when it was up 1.4%.

Market News International is a real-time global news service for fixed-income and foreign exchange market professionals. See www.marketnews.com.

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