Spending on U.S. construction projects unexpectedly rose in March for the first time in six months as increases in commercial and government projects overshadowed an ongoing drop in home building.
The 0.3 percent gain followed a revised 1 percent drop the prior month, the commerce Department said today in Washington. The advance in non-residential projects was led by building of power plants, hotels and factories.
Spending on infrastructure projects is projected to increase in the coming months as state and local governments use funds from the $787 billion fiscal stimulus package. In addition, mortgage rates at historic lows may support sales of new homes, helping the economy begin to recover later this year.