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December Construction Could Subtract From GDP

By John S. McClenahen One consequence of less-than-anticipated U.S. construction spending last December could be the subtraction of one- or two-tenths of a percentage point from the 4% fourth-quarter 2003 GDP growth rate the Commerce Department reported last week. At least that's what UBS Investment Research, New York, is suggesting. Commerce is slated to release a revised U.S. GDP figure on Feb. 27. Spending on U.S. construction put in place during December was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $933.2 billion, 0.4% higher than the revised November rate of $929.8 billion, the Commerce Department reported Feb. 2. Economists generally had expected a 0.7% increase in December. Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $712.4 billion, 0.3% higher than November's revised rate. Spending on public construction was at rate of $220.8 billion, 0.6% above the revised November rate.

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