Construction Data Better Than Expected

By John S. McClenahen Bettering economists' expectations and buoyed by low interest rates on home mortgages, the value of all U.S. construction put in place during October was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $834.6 billion, 0.2% higher than September's level, reports the U.S. Commerce Department. Single-family units were up 1% from September to $265.9 billion and 6% higher than the previous October's mark. Industrial buildings, offices and other kinds of private nonresidential construction totaled $158.3 billion in October. Nevertheless, "we expect overall construction spending will be a slight negative for fourth-quarter GDP growth," says Gerald D. Cohen, a senior economist at Merrill Lynch & Co., New York.

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