Residential construction spending increased for the eighth straight month in February, reaching $665.7 million, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. Residential spending was up 1.3 percent from the revised January estimate and 7.1 percent from February 2005 residential spending.

Overall U.S. construction spending during February 2006 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $1.19 trillion, or 0.8 percent above the revised January estimate. The February figure is 7.4 percent above the February 2005 estimate.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate represents a projection of a monthly total over a 12-month period, accounting for seasonal fluctuations in construction activity.

During the first two months of this year, construction spending amounted to about $161.5 billion, which is 8.5 percent above the $149 billion for the same period in 2005.

Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $931 billion, or 1.2 percent above the revised January estimate of $920.3 billion.

Nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $265.3 billion in February, up 0.8 percent from the January estimate.

The estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending in January was about $254.4 billion, or 0.5 percent below the revised January estimate.

Educational construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $67.7 billion, or roughly the same as the revised January estimate. Highway construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $69.3 billion, or 0.7 percent above the revised January estimate.

The Census Bureau noted that month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics can show irregular movements. It can take two months to establish an underlying trend for total construction and as long as eight months for specific categories of construction.

Statistics are estimated from several sources and surveys and are subject to sampling variability as well as non-sampling error including bias and variance from response, non-reporting, and under-coverage. Statistics for the current month are preliminary estimates subject to revision in following months as additional data become available, the Census Bureau also reported.

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