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U.S. construction spending unexpectedly rises in January

WASHINGTON, March 3 (Reuters) - U.S. construction spending unexpectedly rose in January as an increase in private construction projects offset a drop in public outlays in a hopeful sign for growth this quarter.

Construction spending gained 0.1 percent to an annual rate of $943.1 billion, the Commerce Department said on Monday. December's construction spending growth was revised up to 1.5 percent.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.5 percent drop in January after a previously reported 0.1 percent rise in December.