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US spending on construction projects rose 1.7% in January

SILVER SPRING, Md, United States (AP) – Spending on US construction projects rose 1.7 per cent in January as new home building continues to lift the sector.

Last month’s increase followed small revised gains in December and November.

Spending on residential construction rose 2.5 per cent in January, with single family home projects on the increase, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.

Despite an economy that’s been battered for nearly a year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, historically low interest rates and city dwellers seeking more space in the suburbs and beyond has boosted home sales. Last week, the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes jumped 4.3 per cent in January and are 19.3 per cent higher than they were last year at this time.

In a separate report, the Government reported that applications for building permits, which typically signal activity ahead, spiked 10.4 per cent in January.

Spending on government projects, which has been constrained by tight state and local budgets in the wake of the pandemic, rose 1.7 per cent.

Non-residential construction was up 0.4 per cent after months of declines, but is still down 10 per cent from January of last year. The category that accounts for hotels also ticked up 0.7 per cent but is still down a whopping 22.7 per cent from the same time last year, as the travel and leisure sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.

Total spending on construction in January was $1.52 billion, 5.8 per cent higher than January 2020.