U.S. Construction Spending Slips in March from Record High in February

Spending on construction projects fell slightly in March after reaching the highest level on record in February.

U.S. construction spending decreased by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in March, the Commerce Department said Monday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.5% increase.

Building outlays in February were revised up to a 1.8% advance from an initial estimate of a 0.8% increase. February's revised annual rate of spending, $1.221 trillion, was the highest level on record, eclipsing the previous high set 11 years earlier.

Construction spending data is not adjusted for inflation.

The record-high level of construction spending shows the sector is improving at stronger pace after a steep decline during the housing crisis and a very slow post-recession recovery.

Most other measures of economic activity, including nonfarm payrolls and total economic output, long ago exceeded prerecession peaks.

In March, private construction spending was nearly unchanged and government outlays declined 0.9% from February.

The Commerce Department report on construction spending can be found at http://www.census.gov/construction/c30/c30index.html.

Write to Eric Morath at eric.morath@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 01, 2017 10:15 ET (14:15 GMT)