US builders trimmed work for second month

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WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. builders trimmed their activity for a second straight month in August as a solid gain in home construction failed to offset declines in nonresidential activity and government projects.

The Commerce Department says overall construction spending dipped 0.7 percent in August, compared to July. In July, spending had fallen 0.4 percent.

The August decline left spending at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $837.1 billion, which is 12.2 percent above a 12-year low hit in February 2011. Still, construction activity is roughly half of what economists consider to be healthy.

One bright spot in the August report was a 0.9 percent increase in private residential construction, another sign that housing is recovering following a prolonged slump. In August, both single-family and apartment construction was up.

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