The rate of spending on residential construction dropped about 6.9 percent in September compared to September 2005, according to a report today by the U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce.

Residential construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $610 billion in September, down 1.1 percent from the revised August estimate. And private, nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $312.7 billion in September, which is 0.1 percent above the revised August estimate and 19.2 percent above the September 2005 rate.

Construction spending during September 2006 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.2 trillion, or 0.3 percent below the revised August estimate and 2.9 percent above the September 2005 estimate.

During the first nine months of this year, total construction spending amounted to about $903.2 billion, or 6.6 percent above spending in the same period in 2005.

The estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending was $273.2 billion, or 0.9 percent above the revised August estimate and 11.6 percent above the September 2005 rate. Educational construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $72.6 billion, 3 percent above the revised August estimate. Highway construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $74.7 billion, or 1.7 percent below the revised August estimate.

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 eight months for specific categories of construction.

Statistics are estimated from several sources and surveys and are subject to sampling variability and nonsampling error including bias and variance from response, nonreporting and undercoverage, the agencies noted. Statistics for the current month are preliminary estimates subject to revision in following months.

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