Construction spending rose in April on more government building

Construction spending rose in April, which was driven by more government building as residential projects remained mostly flat. 

Spending increased 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $953.5 billion, which is the highest level since March 2009, the Commerce Department said Monday.

March figures were revised up to a 0.6 percent gain up from an initially reported 0.2 percent.

The slow down in construction activity earlier this year contributed to the economy's contraction in the first three months of the year.  

The economy fell into negative territory in the first quarter, shrinking at a 1 percent rate.

Construction has shown growth in the past three months after declining in January, when most of the country was plagued by severe winter weather. 

Residential construction was up only slightly in April, rising 0.1 percent.

Spending on single-family home construction rose 1.3 percent while apartment construction increased 2.7 percent. 

Government construction spending rose 0.8 percent to a rate of $267 billion with solid gains in federal as well as state and local construction projects. 

Overall, construction spending is 8.6 percent higher than a year ago.