U.S. construction spending up 1% in December led by housing

WASHINGTON — U.S. construction spending rose a moderate 1% in December as strength in home building offset continued weakness in nonresidential construction.

The increase followed a 1.1% gain in November, the Commerce Department reported today. Last month’s strength came from a 3.1% jump in spending on residential projects with money going to single-family homes surging by 5.8%.

The rise in home building offset a 1.7% decline in nonresidential construction which had declines in hotel and motel construction and in the category that includes shopping centers.

Spending on government projects which had been hit by falling tax revenues rose 0.5% in December.

Housing has been a star performer over the past year, helped by record low interest rates, while many other parts of the economy have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.