WASHINGTON — Construction spending in July rose by 0.6%, a bit more than expected, overcoming a dip in public construction spending to reach its highest level in a little over five years, data released by the Commerce Department Tuesday morning showed.

Construction spending hit $900.8 billion in July, the highest since June 2009. After declining by 0.2% in June, private construction spending rose 0.9% to $631.4 billion, the highest since February 2009. Within that, the pace of private residential construction spending has slowed in recent months, but was still up 0.6% in July to $334.6 billion, the highest since September 2008.

Overall residential construction spending was up 0.5% in July. In the split between public and private, public residential spending was down 3.1%.

Private residential spending was buoyed by both a 0.1% increase in multifamily construction and a 0.5% rise in the construction of single-family homes. Residential construction excluding new homes, which captures home remodeling rose 0.8%, the same increase seen in June.

Nonresidential private construction spending was up 1.3%, led by a 6.1% increase in lodging, as well as manufacturing construction spending (+2.9%).

Public construction spending declined in July after seeing an increase in the prior two months, down 0.3% to $269.4 billion.

Overall, the 0.6% increase in construction spending was slightly better than the +0.5% median expectation of economists surveyed by MNI.

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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