Spending on construction projects rose 0.2% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.51 trillion, the Commerce Department said Monday.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal has expected a 1.8% gain.
This is the second straight month where construction spending was below estimates. Spending in February was revised to a decline of 0.6% from the initial estimate of a 0.8% drop, pulled down by severe winter weather in much of the country.
Private construction spending rose 0.7% in March while spending on public construction projects fell 1.5%. Residential construction rose 1.7%. Spending on highways and other nonresidential sectors fell 0.9%.
“The trend in nonresidential construction remains a concern for economic growth, with office and commercial construction spending still firmly in a downtrend,” said T.J. Connelly, head of research at Contingent Macro Advisors.
Over the past year, overall construction spending is up 5.3%.
were sharply higher on Monday on optimism about the U.S. economic outlook.