Construction spending got a boost in December

WASHINGTON - U.S. construction spending accelerated in December as building activity increased for new houses and government-backed highways.

The Commerce Department says construction spending rose 0.4 percent in December. Total construction spending in 2014 increased 5.6 percent to $961 billion, with the gains slightly below the pace of 5.7 percent in 2013.

Spending on single-family houses rose 1.2 percent in December from the prior month. Highway and street construction grew by 2.1 percent and factory-building by 1.9 percent. Construction of schools and commercial centers fell in December.

Over the course of 2014, spending on offices, power plants, factories and lodgings climbed significantly, potentially signaling broader economic growth in 2015 that could further boost residential construction.