WASHINGTON — Construction spending rose 1.4% to a seasonally adjusted estimated annual rate of $872.1 billion in October, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

The October rate increased from a revised September level of $860.4 billion, originally reported as $851.6 billion, and was 9.6% above the October 2011 $795.7 billion. The October 2012 rate represents the highest spending rate since an $880.3 billion mark in September 2009.

The acceleration in the annual rate nearly tripled the median 0.5% increase projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

Total construction spending during the first 10 months of the year was $707.4 billion, 9.3% above the $646.9 billion spending level through the same period last year.

Public construction spending increased 0.8% to a $280.1 billion annual rate, from the revised September rate of $277.7 billion. State and local construction spending was down 0.1% to $253.9 billion, while federal construction spending jumped 10.7% to a $26.2 billion annual rate.

The sharp increase in federal spending was the largest since an 11.7% gain in September 2010, though total federal spending was higher as recently as May. The October advance followed a 6.8% decline the previous month.

Spending on private construction rose 1.6% to a seasonally adjusted estimated rate of $592.1 billion in October, from $582.7 billion in September. Private residential construction increased 3%, while nonresidential rose 0.3% from the previous month.

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