WASHINGTON — Construction spending fell 0.3% to a seasonally adjusted estimated annual rate of $866 billion in November, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

The November rate decreased from a revised October estimate of $868.2 billion, originally reported as $872.1 billion, but was 7.7% above the November 2011 estimate of $804 billion.

The deceleration in the annual rate contrasted with the median 0.6% increase projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

Total construction spending during the first 11 months of the year was $781.4 billion, 9.2% above the $715.4 billion spending level through the same period the prior year.

Public construction spending declined 0.4% to a $276.2 billion annual rate, from the revised October rate of $277.4 billion. State and local construction spending inched up 0.1% to $251.7 billion, while federal construction spending dropped 5.5% to a $24.6 billion annual rate. Highway construction spending increased 0.5%.

Spending on private construction fell 0.2% to a seasonally adjusted estimated rate of $589.8 billion in November, from $590.8 billion in October. Private residential construction increased 0.4%, while nonresidential fell 0.7% from the previous month.

The private residential spending pace was at its highest level since hitting a $295.3 billion mark in November 2008.

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