Solid construction, auto sales data boost U.S. growth picture

Tue Dec 2, 2014 3:39pm EST
 
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By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. construction spending recorded its largest gain in five months in October, easing concerns of a sharp slowdown in fourth-quarter economic growth.

The growth outlook also got a boost from strong automobile sales in November.

"The economy is on firmer ground than people think, it remains a beacon of light in a world where growth in many countries remains subpar," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York.

Construction spending rose 1.1 percent, the biggest advance since May, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.

September's construction outlays were revised up to show only a 0.1 percent drop instead of the previously reported 0.4 percent fall. Economists said that suggested the gross domestic product estimate for the third quarter could be raised by 0.2 percentage point to a 4.1 percent annual rate.

The government will publish revisions to third-quarter GDP growth data later this month. Spending on residential and nonresidential structures such as factories and power stations previously was reported to have made no contribution to growth.

GROWTH ESTIMATES RAISED   Continued...

 
Workers guide steel beams into place at a construction site in San Francisco, California September 1, 2011.  REUTERS/Robert Galbraith