Construction spending fell 2.5% sequentially in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $787.9 billion, 6.4% behind the rate of December, 2009, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday morning.

Residential construction fell 4.1% from November to a rate of $226.4 billion, a drop of 6.3% from the prior December. Total private construction was at a rate of $486.9 billion, 2.2% below the revised November estimate of $498.0 billion and 9.8% below December, 2009.

The value of private construction in 2010 was $507.3 billion, 14.3% behind 2009. Residential construction in 2010 was $241.4 billion, 1.7% below 2009.

For public construction, the seasonally adjusted annual rate was $301.0 billion in December, 2.8% below November and 11.2% below December, 2009.Highway construction was at a rate of $84.9 billion, 1.6% below November but 7.5% ahead of December, 2009.

The value of public construction in 2010 was $306.8 billion, 2.7% below 2009. Educational construction in 2010 was $74.4 billion, down 13.6% from 2009, and highway construction was $83.3 billion, 1.7% above 2009.