WASHINGTON — US builders increased their spending on construction projects in October by the largest amount in five months, led by a surge in housing.
The Commerce Department said Monday that construction spending rose 1.4 percent, the largest gain since a 1.7 percent increase in May.
Spending rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $872.1 billion. That is nearly 17 percent higher than a 12-year low in February 2011.
Still, even with the gain, the level of spending on construction remains about half of what is considered healthy.
Housing construction spending jumped 3 percent in October. Nonresidential building rose 0.3 percent. The government said Hurricane Sandy, in late October, had a minimal effect on the figures.
Sales of new homes fell slightly in October, dragged lower by steep declines in the Northeast partly related to Sandy. New-home sales were 17 percent higher in October than in the same month a year earlier.