Like so many other economic indicators recently, construction spending moved downward in October, according to numbers released today by the Census Bureau.

Overall construction spending, which includes both public works and private projects, slid 4.6 percent year-over-year to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,072.6 billion.

Private residential construction represents about one third of that; that segment hit $339 billion in seasonally adjusted spending in October, which represents a 24.2 percent decline compared to the same month one year ago. It is also 3.5 percent lower than September 2008, providing yet more evidence of this fall’s economic slowdown.

Private single-family construction, battered by a credit crisis affecting both home buyers and home builders, also continued to drop in October, slipping 4.6 percent compared to the previous month to a seasonally adjusted rate of $275 billion. That number represents a 41 percent plunge compared to the same month last year.

Private multifamily construction spending slid just 0.3 percent in October on a monthly basis and dipped 1.4 percent on an annual basis. But with a seasonally adjusted level of just $45 billion in October, that sector is significantly smaller than its single-family counterpart.

Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.