U.S. construction spending rose for a sixth straight month in November to an all-time high, and builders started work on houses at a record rate, suggesting a boost for the economy in the fourth quarter.
The 1.2% increase to a $934.5-billion annual rate followed a revised 1.1% gain in October, the Commerce Department said last week. Residential construction, which accounts for more than half the total, rose 1.9%.
Through the first 11 months of 2003, spending on construction totaled $828.1 billion, the government said, 4.1% higher than $795.7 billion for the same period a year earlier. Construction of office buildings climbed 1.3% in November to a $41.2-billion pace.