Outlays for construction projects fell 0.3% in May at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of  $1.55 trillion, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Economists polled by Wall Street Journal had expected a 0.5% increase.

Spending in April was revised to 0.6% gain, up from the prior estimate of a 0.2% increase.

A gain in residential construction rose in May was not enough to offset weakness in the non-residential and public sectors.

Residential construction rose 0.2% in May and is up 28.2% over the past year.

Spending on public construction projects fell 0.2%, the fifth straight monthly decline. Public construction is down 8.7% over the past year. Non-residential construction fell 0.7%, the sixth-straight monthly decline, leaving the sector down 7.1% over the last 12 months.

Office construction is down 23.3% over the past year, the government said.



opened higher on Thursday after the ISM manufacturing index slipped only slightly in June and remained at a fairly high level relative to recent history.

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