Construction spending gains 0.2 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Builders began work on more office buildings, shopping centers and hotels in June, pushing construction spending higher for a third straight month. But even with the gains, activity remains at depressed levels.

The Commerce Department says construction spending rose 0.2 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $772.3 billion. That put overall spending just 1.2 percent higher than the 11-year low hit in March. It is just half of the $1.5 trillion pace considered healthy by most economists.

In June, residential construction declined, reflecting a big drop in apartment construction, and spending on government building projects also fell. But private nonresidential activity rose to the highest level since late 2010.