ByJohn S. McClenahen Even with a relatively robust performance from the residential sector, construction spending in the U.S. posted a 0.2% increase in July, less than the 0.4% rise that economists generally expected. The U.S. Commerce Department figures construction spending in July was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $879.8 billion, some $2 billion higher than June's revised rate of $877.8 billion. In July, residential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $449.6 billion, 0.6% higher than June's revised rate of $446.8 billion. Total private construction spending -- which includes residential, manufacturing and 10 other categories -- was at a rate of $664.2 billion in July, 0.5% higher than June's $661.1 billion. The seasonally adjusted annual rate for educational, highway and other kinds of public construction spending in July was $215.7 billion, 0.4% below June's revised rate of $216.7 billion.