WASHINGTON — Construction spending in April leaped 2.7% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, the largest increase in almost 10 years and well above economists’ estimates, as residential construction soared, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.

Private construction increased 2.9%, turning positive for the first time since October in what was the largest increase since July 2004. Private construction in March reached the lowest level since January 1999. Residential construction increased 4.4% and nonresidential construction grew 1.7%, breaking a streak of 12 consecutive monthly declines.

Public construction increased 2.4% for the month, the largest gain in more than a year.

Economists expected construction spending to be flat for the month, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters. April’s total construction spending increase was the largest since August 2000.

March construction spending was revised higher to a 0.4% increase from the 0.2% rise reported last month.

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