By Mark Memmott
In a bit of a surprise, spending on construction rose 0.3% in June from May, the Commerce Department just reported.
Spending totaled $965.7 billion, at an annual rate. Even with the monthly increase, it was still down 10.2% from June 2008.
Reuters says the analysts it surveyed before the report's release had thought spending fell 0.5% in June from May.
The Associated Press notes that the increase, -- the second in three months -- offers "fresh evidence that the battered housing sector may be recovering."
According to Commerce, spending on private residential construction alone was up 0.5% in June from May, though it was still down 30% from June 2008.
Spending on such public construction projects as schools and highways was up 0.9% in June from May and up 5.1% from June 2008. Some of the funds came from the federal government's economic stimulus program.