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MarketWatch reports on this morning's release of construction spending by the Commerce Department:

The numbers: Construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual $1.309 billion in October, 0.1% lower than a revised September spending pace of $1.311 billion, the Commerce Department said Monday.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.3% monthly increase.

What happened: Any strength in October came from the government. Public outlays on construction projects were 0.8% higher than in September, while private sector spending was 0.4% lower. Both sectors were higher compared to a year ago, public spending by 8.5% and private by 3.9%. In October, public works projects favored schools, spending on which was 2.6% higher than in September, over highway construction, which declined 0.1%.

Big picture: Overall spending was 4.9% higher than in October 2017, and for the year to date, it’s 5.1% higher than the same period last year. But there are some key areas where construction outlays are lagging, notably residential building. Residential spending was down 0.5% for the month, and the average pace of spending over the third quarter is now lower than in the first three months of the year.

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