WASHINGTON - Construction spending declined 0.9% to an annual adjusted rate of $834.9 billion in July, with residential construction, which makes up nearly one-third of the total, dropping 1.6%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce.

It was the biggest drop in construction spending in more than a year and followed a 0.4% gain in June.

In spite of the dip from June, the July figure is 9.3% higher than the July 2011 estimate of $763.5 billion.For the first seven months of the year, construction spending totaled $464.4 billion, 9.3% ahead of the same time frame last year.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that non-residential private construction dropped by 0.9% and public construction fell 0.4% from June to July.

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