WASHINGTON — Construction spending unexpectedly surged 0.5% in September due to public infrastructure activity, the Commerce Department said Monday.

Economists expected construction spending would decrease 0.5%, according to the median estimate. Private construction was flat for the month.

Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight, said public spending increased 1.3% in September, after rising 2.2% in August, due to big gains in transportation and health care.

“We still expect increases in infrastructure spending to continue over the next four quarters, boosting public construction spending,” Newport said.

August construction spending was revised to a 0.2% drop from the original 0.4% gain. August’s $797.5 billion in construction spending was a 10-year low

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