Construction spending jumped to a seasonally adjusted rate of $885.1 billion in February, 1.2% higher than January's adjusted rate of $874.8 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported today [link opens in PDF].

February's number was 7.9% higher than February 2012's annualized total of $820.7 billion.

Private construction, including both residential and nonresidential building, was at a rate of $613 billion in February, an increase of 1.3% compared to January's rate. Public construction, which includes highway and education-related building, rose 0.9% from the prior month, to $272.1 billion.


In the private sector, nonresidential construction spending outpaced residential totals, with an annually adjusted rate of $309.6 billion, compared to $303.4 billion for residential building. Education spending in the public sector was the only area that saw a decrease from January's rates, dropping to an annual rate of $63.2 billion, 0.3% below January's $63.3 billion.

The U.S. Commerce Department's monthly construction spending survey covers work done on new structures, in addition to improvements made to both private and public sector buildings. Spending totals include the cost of materials, architectural, engineering, labor costs, builders' profits, and taxes and interest.

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