U.S. builders boosted spending on construction projects for a second straight month in November, pushing activity to the highest level in more than a decade.
Construction spending rose 0.9 percent in November after a 0.6 percent increase in October, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The increase reflected solid gains in home construction, nonresidential building and government construction activity.
The gains pushed total construction to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.18 trillion, the highest point since April 2006. Economists predict that construction will continue to show gains in 2017, reflecting a strong job market and low unemployment.
For November, the 1 percent rise in residential construction reflected a 1.8 percent rise in single-family construction, which offset a 2.7 percent drop in the apartment construction sector.
The 1 percent rise in nonresidential construction followed a 1.6 percent decline in October. The gains in November were led by a 7 percent jump in hotel and motel construction.
The 0.8 percent advance in government projects reflected a 3.1 percent rise in spending at the federal level and 0.6 percent increase at state and local levels.
— Associated Press
A former transportation official and mentor to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will not be sentenced in a bribery scheme until March.
David Samson, who once headed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, admitted pressuring United Airlines to restart a money-losing flight from Newark to South Carolina so he could travel to a weekend home.
Samson was to be sentenced Thursday. No explanation for the postponement was given in court documents Tuesday or by the federal prosecutor’s office.
Samson, who is in his mid-70s, faces up to two years in prison.
In July, he pleaded guilty to a bribery charge and admitted he schemed with a lobbyist to delay approvals on a project sought by United at Newark Liberty International Airport to try to persuade the airline to relaunch the flight.
United discontinued the flight days after Samson resigned from the Port Authority in March 2014. United agreed to pay more than $2 million in civil penalties.
— Associated Press
● U.S. safety regulators are investigating complaints that the front passenger seat belts can fail in about 313,000 Hyundai midsize cars. The investigation posted Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration covers the Hyundai Sonata from the 2013 model year. The agency says it has two complaints that the seat belts detached. One injury was reported because of the problem.
● U.S. manufacturing activity expanded for the fourth straight month in December, as new orders and production jumped in a positive sign for economic growth. The Institute for Supply Management says its manufacturing index came in at 54.7 last month, up from 53.2 in November and the highest reading of 2016. Anything over 50 signals growth. Factories are rebounding from a rough patch in late 2015 and early 2016.
● Bank of America held its spot as the top underwriter of U.S. state and local debt for a fifth straight year by overseeing $67.8 billion of sales in 2016, boosting its share of new issues by 2 percentage points to 15 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. Citigroup also captured a larger piece of the business, overtaking JPMorgan Chase to become the second-largest underwriter. Bank of America was the lead manager for the second-biggest issue of the year, a $2.74 billion sale to finance roadwork by New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund Authority. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs served as joint senior managers on the biggest deal of the year, a $2.95 billion general-obligation issue by the state of California.
● Indonesia’s government said it terminated all business partnerships with JPMorgan Chase after the U.S. bank downgraded its assessment of equities in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.● The finance ministry will stop using JPMorgan as a primary dealer and as an underwriter of its sovereign bonds, the ministry’s director-general for budget financing and risk management said Tuesday. JPMorgan downgraded Indonesia’s equity market by two notches to underweight from overweight in a Nov. 13 report as a “tactical response” to Donald Trump’s presidential election win in the United States.
— From news services
● 2 p.m.: Federal Reserve releases minutes from December interest-rate meeting.
● All day: Automakers release vehicle sales for December.