Construction spending for residential projects reached an adjusted annual rate of $575.4 billion in January, down 13 percent compared to January 2006 and down 1.8 percent from December, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.

For all types of construction, spending reached an adjusted annual rate of $1.18 trillion in January, which is about 0.8 percent below the revised December estimate and 1.2 percent below the January 2006 estimate.

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

Total spending on private construction — including residential and nonresidential — was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $894.3 billion, which is about 1.2 below the revised December estimate and 4.8 percent below the January 2006 rate. Nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $318.9 billion in January, about the same as the revised December estimate and 14.7 percent higher than the January 2006 rate, according to the Census report.

In January, the estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending was $286 billion, which is about 0.6 percent above the revised December estimate of $284.2 billion and 12 percent above the January 2006 rate.

Educational construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $75.1 billion, up 8.8 percent compared to January 2006, and highway construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $76.9 billion, up 11.3 percent compared to the January 2006 rate.

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

The construction-spending statistics are preliminary estimates that are subject to revision in following months.

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