The rate of private residential construction spending fell for the seventh straight month in October and was 9.4 percent below the October 2005 rate, the U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced today.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of total construction spending was about $1.18 trillion in October, which is 1 percent below the revised September estimate and 2.4 percent above the October 2005 estimate.

During the first 10 months of this year, total construction spending was about $1.01 trillion, which 5.9 percent higher than spending in the first 10 months of 2005.

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

Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $905.3 billion, down 2 percent compared to the October 2005 rate. Residential construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $597.1 billion in October, down 1.9 percent from the revised September estimate. Nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $308.2 billion in October, or 16.4 percent above the October 2005 rate.

The rate of public construction spending in October was about $273.1 billion, or 0.8 percent above the revised September estimate and 9.9 percent above the October 2005 rate. Educational construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $70.7 billion, up 6.4 percent from the October 2005 rate, and highway construction reached a rate of $76.2 billion, up about 15.7 percent compared to October 2005.

The agencies noted that month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics can show irregular movements, and 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 nonsampling error including bias and variance from response, nonreporting, and undercoverage, according to the report, and statistics for the most recent month are preliminary estimates subject to revision.

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