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Construction spending in the U.S. increased by slightly more than expected in the month of July, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

The report said construction spending rose by 0.3 percent to an annual rate of $1.569 trillion in July after edging down by less than a tenth of a percent to revised rate of $1.563 trillion in June.

Economists had expected construction spending to inch up by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.1 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month.

The modest increase in construction spending came as spending on private construction climbed by 0.3 percent to an annual rate of $1.231 trillion.

Spending on residential construction increased by 0.5 percent to a rate of $773.0 billion, more than offsetting a 0.2 percent dip in spending on non-residential construction to a rate of $458.0 billion.

The report also showed spending on public construction advanced by 0.7 percent to an annual rate of $337.8 billion, reflecting a 1.9 percent jump in spending on highway construction to a rate of $94.5 billion.

Compared to the same month a year ago, total construction in July was up 9.0 percent, the Commerce Department said.


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