March 1, 2016 10:45 AM, EST
Construction Spending in January Exceeds Expectations

Here’s one key takeaway from the Commerce Department’s report March 1 on construction spending.

Outlays surged a greater-than-expected 1.5% in January after an upwardly revised 0.6% advance (prior was 0.1%) a month earlier — a combination that will help spur first-quarter gross domestic product.

• January gain was biggest since May and brought the value of construction put in place to highest level since October 2007.

• Government-funded construction projects jumped 4.5%, the most since October 2014, led by a surge in work on highways and streets.

• Value of public construction is highest since September 2010.

• Private construction was up 0.5%, reflecting a 1% rebound in nonresidential projects that included more work on power plants and factories. Homebuilding was little changed.