Construction Spending Again Declines

From Associated Press

Construction spending continued to slide in April, down 0.7% for the second straight month as interest rates remained high, the government said today.

The Commerce Department said residential, non-residential and government construction spending totaled a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $432.4 billion.

But despite the April decrease, spending was 5% above that of the same month in 1989, when it totaled $411.9 billion.

Residential building slipped 0.3% to an annual rate of $202.7 billion after rising 2% in March. The March rate originally was reported to have been up 1.8%.

Mortgage rates, which started the year in single-digits, ranged between 10.25% and 10.56% in April. The rates do not include add-on fees known as points.

Single-family building fell 2.2% to an annual rate of $120 billion after a 1.2% increase in March. Apartment construction, on the other hand, rose 6% to $21 billion. It had dropped 4.3% in March.

Non-residential construction such as office and industrial buildings edged up 0.6% to $104.2 billion after declining 2.4% in March.

The volatile government sector fell for the second straight month, down 3.5% to $87.6 billion. Highways and streets spending paced the drop with an 8.2% decline.

Government construction spending had fallen 4.9% in March after gaining 5.2% in February.

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