Construction spending was $834.39 billion in July compared to $842.22 billion in June and $763.47 in July 2011, a decrease of 0.9 percent from the revised June estimate and 9.3 percent higher than the estimate in July 2011according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday morning.  Overall construction spending, both public and private was down 0.9 percent month-over-month but up 9.3 percent the same period in 2011.

Total private construction was at an annual rate of 558.71 billion, down from 565.57 billion (-1.2 percent) in June but 15.0 percent higher than the rate of $485.79 billion one year earlier.  Public construction was down 0.4 percent from June and 0.7 percent a year earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $275.67 billion. 

Public and private residential construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $271.21 billion in July down from $275.52 billion in June and $230.60 billion in July 2011.  Private construction in this category dropped from $268.85 billion in June to $264.62 in July.  It is unclear what accounts for the drop as spending on single family housing rose to $127.45 billion from $125.63 billion and multi-family construction spending was up slightly from $21.37 billion to $21.96 billion.   Private single family housing construction was up 19.0 percent from the $222.42 billion rate in July 2011. 

Residential construction was only a small portion of public construction spending; $6.60 billion, 1.1 percent below June and 19.4 percent lower than one year ago.