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Construction spending springs a leak

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The souring economy clipped spending on residential construction projects in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $344.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. At that rate, spending on private and public residential projects was down 1.3 percent from August ($348.8 billion) and 27.1 percent from a year ago ($472.4 billion). This rate is a projection of a monthly spending total over a 12-month period, adjusted to account for typical seasonal fluctuations in construction activity. By itself, private residential construction spending registered an annual rate in September of $336.5 billion, down 1.3 percent from $340.8 billion in August and down 27.7 percent from $465.1 billion a year ago. Total construction spending on public and private construction projects -- both residential and nonresidential -- dipped to a rate of $1.06 trillion in September, down 0.3 percent from August and off 6.6 percent from the September 2007 rate, according to the report. Total...