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Private sector drives uptick in construction spending in November

Jan 08, 2012 Philip Burgess

Construction spending soared in November to reach the highest level in nearly two years, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Spending rose 1.2 percent to reach $807.1 billion. The increase was driven largely by a surge in private sector construction, which totaled more than $522 billion, the Los Angeles Times reports. Compared to the same period in 2010, construction spending was up 4 percent. The news bodes well for the housing and construction sectors, which have both suffered since the recession began. Federal data shows more than 2 million construction jobs have been lost. While there have been gains in recent months, analysts do not expect a recovery in the construction sector until gains in housing demand. "In November, builders broke ground on more homes than at any time in the previous 19 months and construction permits climbed to a one-year high, suggesting housing may not be a drag on gross domestic product next year," reports Timothy Homan for Bloomberg. "Housing starts were at a 685,000 annual rate that month."