(CEP News) Washington ' U.S. construction spending fell 0.3% in February, less than the full percentage point drop economists expected in the month. Spending totalled $1.121 trillion in February, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Total construction spending in January fell 1.7%.

Total residential construction spending fell 0.9% in February to an annual rate of $463.761 billion, a slower decline than the previous month's drop of 2.9%. Non-residential construction increased 0.1% in February to $657.802 billion after a 0.8% drop in January.

Several non-residential sectors made substantial gains in February, notably a 3.7% increase in spending on construction of water supply structures, followed by a 2.7% rise in manufacturing construction. Spending on commercial construction also increased 2.7% in the month.

Construction of power structures fell 3.9% in the month, the largest percentage drop among the non-residential sectors, followed by a 2.1% decline in spending on amusement and recreation construction in February. Office construction spending fell 1.8% in the month.



Spending on total private construction in the month fell by 0.5% to $826.645 billion after recording a 2.2% decline in January. Of that, private residential construction fell 0.9% in February to $456.923 billion, and private non-residential construction fell 0.1% to $369.722 billion, after a 1.2% decline the prior month.

Private spending on power structures had the largest decline in the month, falling 4.9%, with spending on office building construction falling 2.2% in February.

However, manufacturing construction increased by 2.7% in the month, and transportation spending rose 2.6%. Commercial construction also rose 2.6%.

Total public construction spending rose 0.4% in February, though housing fell 0.8% and non-residential construction rose 0.5%.

By Michelle Zimmermann, edited by Steve Campbell and Stephen Huebl