Construction spending in the U.S. unexpectedly decreased in the month of May, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday.

The report said construction spending fell by 0.3 percent to an annual rate of $1.545 trillion in May after inching up by 0.1 percent to a revised rate of $1.550 trillion in April.

The decrease surprised economists, who had expected construction spending to rise by 0.4 percent following the 0.2 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month.

The unexpected drop in construction spending came as spending on private construction slipped by 0.3 percent to an annual rate of $1.203 billion.

Spending on non-residential construction slumped by 1.1 percent to a rate of $451.6 billion, more than offsetting a 0.2 percent increase in spending on residential construction to a rate of $751.7 billion.

The report showed spending on public construction also dipped by 0.2 percent to a rate of $342.0 billion, as a steep drop in spending on educational construction more than offset a jump in spending on highway construction.

Despite the monthly decrease, total construction spending in May was up by 7.5 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

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