Surge in US construction and factory data at year-end

US construction spending surged to nearly an 18-month high in November, new data shows, as investment in public and private projects rose solidly.

Construction spending increased 1.2 per cent to an annual rate of $807.1bn (£520.4bn), the highest level since June 2010, the US Commerce Department has said.

A separate report also shows that US manufacturing growth accelerated in December, its best month since June 2011, according to an industry report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

ISM said its index of national factory activity rose to 53.9 from 52.7 in November, showing clear expansion in the sector and beating expectations of 53.2 from a Reuters poll of economists.

New orders, which economists consider a leading indicator of future activity in the sector, rose to 57.6 from 56.7. The employment component also jumped to 55.1 from 51.8.

Construction spending in October was revised to a 0.2 per cent fall, after initially being reported as a 0.8 per cent rise. Economists polled by Reuters had expected construction spending to rise 0.5 per cent in November.

Overall construction spending was up 0.5 per cent compared to November 2010.

Private construction spending rose one per cent, advancing for a fourth straight month. Spending on residential projects increased two per cent, with solid gains in both multifamily and single family homes.