P. M. BRIEFING : Construction Spending Unchanged

<i> From Times wire services </i>

Construction spending was virtually unchanged in February as an increase in work on government projects was offset by a decline in building activity on homes and nonresidential facilities such as factories, the government said today.

Construction spending took place at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $423 billion in February, a slight increase from the pace of $422.8 billion during the previous month, the Commerce Department reported.

It was the weakest performance since construction spending declined 0.2% last August. Rising interest rates have dampened building activity in most sectors, with fixed-rate mortgages averaging 11.19% last week, compared with 9.87% a year earlier.