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News Summary: US construction spending falls

The Associated Press

In this Jan. 24, 2013 photo, Rod Cimino of Cookeville, Tenn., works on the rafters of the Owensboro Public Works building in Portland, Tenn. The Commerce Department says construction spending in the U.S. fell 2.1 percent in January compared with December, the largest drop in 18 months. (AP Photo/The Messenger-Inquirer, John Dunham)

BIG DROP: Spending on U.S. construction projects fell 1.7 percent in March as the biggest drop in government projects in more than a decade overwhelmed strength in home building. It was the second decline in the past three months.

THE CULPRITS: Government construction activity fell 4.1 percent, the biggest drop since March 2002, while private nonresidential building was down 1.5 percent. Private residential construction rose 0.4 percent.

ANOTHER VIEW: Even with the recent weakness, construction activity was 4.8 percent higher in March than a year ago at a seasonally adjusted $856.7 billion.