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US construction spending picks up in July

US spending on construction picked up in July after a June slowdown, driven by gains in government spending on roads but helped as well by private industrial investment.

WASHINGTON: US spending on construction picked up in July after a June slowdown, driven by gains in government spending on roads but helped as well by private industrial investment.

Total construction spending was up 1.8 percent over June, to US$981 billion, and 8.2 percent year-on-year.

Spending by public authorities grew 3.0 percent in the month, with the largest component, on highways and streets, jumping 6.9 percent. Public construction spending was up 2.1 percent year-on-year.

Private spending rose only 1.4 percent in the month, still held back somewhat by slower housing construction.

But spending by businesses on manufacturing and power facilities was very strong, contributing to the 10.9 percent gain in private construction from a year ago.

Economists Jim O'Sullivan of consultant HFE said the data reinforced the picture for overall economic growth in the third quarter, after the second quarter's strong 4.2 percent pace.

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