Construction spending rises a scant 0.1% in February, held back by public sector

Outlays for U.S. construction projects inched up 0.1% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.27 trillion, the Commerce Department reported Monday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected growth of 0.3%, compared with an unchanged reading in January. Spending on public construction projects dropped 2.1% in the month, the biggest decline since October 2004. Private outlays rose 0.7% in February, with spending up 0.1% for residential projects and 1.5% for nonresidential projects.