Construction spending edges up in March, escaping early coronavirus impacts

The Commerce Department said that the increase followed a 2.5% drop in spending in February

WASHINGTON — U.S. construction spending edged up 0.9% in March as building activity escaped the early impacts of the coronavirus shutdowns.

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The Commerce Department said that the increase followed a 2.5% drop in spending in February. Economists had been forecasting another decline in March as the efforts to contain the spread of the virus started to take hold.

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While the overall figure did not decline in March, analysts believe big drops in activity will start showing up in the April report given the impacts already seen in other parts of the economy.

US HOME CONSTRUCTION COLLAPSED 22.3% IN MARCH

For March, residential construction rose up 2.3% as strength in apartment construction offset a drop in single-family homes.

Nonresidential construction fell 1.3%, with spending for hotels and office buildings both declining.

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Spending for government projects was up 1.6% in March.