WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. construction spending barely increased in May as gains in spending on non-residential projects such as office buildings and public construction were largely offset by a big drop in homebuilding.

The Commerce Department says construction spending edged up 0.1% in May after a much stronger 0.8% April increase. The back-to-back gains followed a period of weakness in which spending fell in both January and February and was flat in March.

The construction industry has struggled with an unusually severe winter which curtailed building activity in many regions.

Construction activity totaled $958.1 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in May, up 6.6% from a year ago.

Economists are forecasting that housing and overall construction will regain momentum in coming months, helping to boost overall economic growth.

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