Construction Spending Builds, Thanks to Housing

home construction
home construction

WASHINGTON -- Construction spending jumped in November as builders spent more on single-family homes, apartments and remodeling projects.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that spending on construction projects rose 1.2 percent in November, following a revised 0.2 percent drop in October. The increase was the third in four months and the largest since a 2.2 percent rise in August.

The November increase pushed spending to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $807.1 billion, still barely half the $1.5 trillion that economists consider healthy. Analysts say it could be four years before construction returns to healthy levels.

Home construction has begun a gradual rebound and likely added to the nation's economic growth in 2011. The chief reason is that apartments are being built almost twice as fast as two years ago. Renting is the only option for many people who have lost their jobs, their homes or both.

For November, private residential construction increased 2 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted $522.3 billion. It was the fifth consecutive gain.