WASHINGTON — Construction spending rose 0.5% to a seasonally adjusted estimated annual rate of $874.9 billion in May, the highest level since September 2009, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

The rate was up from a revised April estimate of $870.3 billion, originally reported as $860.8 billion. The 0.5% gain was slightly lower than the median 0.6% increase projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

The May figure was 5.4% above the $830.4 billion estimate for the same month one year ago.

During the first five months of the year, construction spending was $326.2 billion, 6.2% above the $307.0 billion reported for the same period in 2012.

Spending on private construction remained about the same at $605.4 billion from a revised $605.7 billion. But residential construction rose 1.2% to an estimated annual rate of $322.3 billion, the highest since October 2008, while nonresidential construction fell 1.4% to $283.1 billion.

Public construction spending increased 1.8% to a $269.5 billion annual rate in May, from a revised $264.7 billion in April. Education construction edged up 0.4% to $60.4 billion from the revised estimate of $60.1 billion for the previous month. Highway construction showed a gain of 0.8% to $78.3 billion, from a revised $77.7 billion estimate for April.

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