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April 1, 2009 10:10 AM, EDT
Construction Spending Decline Slows

Construction spending fell 0.9% in February, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

The downturn was the smallest since October and followed a revised 3.5% drop in January that was bigger than originally reported.

The February downturn was below economists’ estimates of a 1.9% decline, Bloomberg reported.

Construction projects for the month fell to $967.5 billion, the lowest level in five years.

Private residential construction fell 4.3%, while non-residential construction projects, including public spending, fell at a 9.4% annual rate.

Spending on public works projects was forecast to rise in coming months as federal stimulus money is used by local and state governments, Bloomberg reported.

Construction spending can boost demand for trucking services because spending increases the number of shipments of goods and building materials.