US spending on construction slowed in August, with declines in both the private and public sectors, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
Total construction spending fell 0.8 percent from July to an annual rate of $961.0 billion, but year-over-year was up 5.0 percent.
The July figure was revised sharply lower to $968.8 billion from the prior estimate of $981.0 billion.
The August drop in construction spending was unexpected by economists; the estimate was for a modest 0.4 percent increase.
Spending on private construction, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the sector, fell 0.8 percent, led by a 1.4 percent drop in spending on nonresidential construction.
Public construction spending, which had surged in July, fell 0.9 percent. Construction related to education was a main factor, falling 2.9 percent.
For the first eight months of the year, construction spending was up 6.8 percent compared to the same period of 2013.
"This is a volatile series but the 12-month trend is still headed in the right direction… higher," said Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets.