By MARTIN CRUTSINGER AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON — U.S. construction spending edged down 0.6 percent in December with declines in residential construction and government projects. Even with the December setback, construction spending for all of 2018 reached record levels, though it was the smallest increase seven years.
The December decline followed a 0.8 percent rise in November, the Commerce Department reported Monday. Residential construction fell by 1.4 percent, revealing ongoing struggles in the housing sector. Nonresidential activity rose 0.4 percent, while spending on government projects fell 0.6 percent, with both federal and state and local activity falling.
For the year, construction spending rose 4.1 percent to $1.3 trillion. It was an all-time high, but the 4.1 percent gain was the weakest performance since spending fell 2.6 percent in 2011.
Construction spending had hit a previous record high of $1.16 trillion in 2006, the peak of a housing boom that would begin declining in 2007, helping to trigger a deep recession and five-year retreat in construction spending.