updated 5/1/2006 2:22:03 PM ET 2006-05-01T18:22:03

U.S. construction spending jumped 0.9 percent in March, more than twice expectations, to a record high on the back of soaring outlays on private residential building, a government report showed on Monday.

Major Market Indices

Construction spending rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.199 trillion in March from an upwardly revised $1.189 trillion rate in February, the Commerce Department reported.

That increase topped Wall Street forecasts of a 0.4 percent gain in construction spending.

Both private and public construction spending hit new highs in March, as did private residential construction, the department said.

Private construction spending jumped 1.1 percent to $940.8 billion as private residential construction climbed 1.6 percent to $672.9 billion.

But private nonresidential construction, seen as a proxy for business spending, dipped 0.1 percent in March to $267.9 billion.

Public-sector construction spending increased 0.2 percent to $258.2 billion. Government construction spending increased in many categories, including residential, commercial, health care, public safety and power.

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