U.S. builders cut their spending on construction projects in September, the second straight monthly decline. Much of the decrease came as government spending for schools, sewers and transportation projects tumbled — part of a broader yearlong decline as infrastructure funding has become a key policy issue in the presidential election. The Commerce Department said Oct. 29 that total construction spending fell 0.7 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.15 trillion. Publicly funded construction dropped 0.9 percent to an annual rate of $270.3 billion. Over the past 12 months, government construction has slumped 7.8 percent — a decline equal to nearly $23 billion. Still, there was positive news in the report as construction spending for August and July were revised upward. This led many economists to increase their estimates of third-quarter growth from the annualized 2.9 percent reported recently by the government to 3 percent.
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