Construction in New York. Photo: John Lamparski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Outlays for construction projects fell 0.7% in June, the fourth straight month spending outlays have fallen, according to the Commerce Department.

By the numbers: Residential construction fell 1.5%, while spending on public construction projects dropped 0.7%.

Yes, but: Construction spending overall is still up from its 2019 levels — one of the few industries that has held up dollar for dollar from its 2019 numbers through the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Even after four straight months of declines, spending is up 0.1% from where it was in June 2019.
  • And construction spending at the end of June was 5% higher than it was through the first six months of 2019.

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Aug 26, 2020 - World

U.S. targets Chinese individuals, companies over escalation in South China Sea

Fishing vessels are seen in the South China Sea Photo: Artyom Ivanov/TASS via Getty Images

The Department of Commerce on Wednesday blacklisted 24 Chinese firms for "helping the Chinese military construct and militarize the internationally condemned artificial islands in the South China Sea."

Why it matters: The move comes as the Trump administration continues to ramp up pressure on Beijing amid escalating tensions in the disputed region.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The first Trump v. Biden presidential debate was a hot mess

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

This debate was like the country: Everybody’s talking. Nobody’s listening. Nothing is learned. It’s a mess.

  • We were told President Trump would be savage. Turned out, that was a gross understatement. Even the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, got bulldozed.

Why it matters: Honestly, who the hell knows?

Pundits react to a chaotic debate: “What a dark event we just witnessed”

The first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden in Cleveland on Tuesday night was a shouting match, punctuated by interruptions and hallmarked by name-calling.

Why it matters: If Trump aimed to make the debate as chaotic as possible with a torrent of disruptions, he succeeded. Pundits struggled to make sense of what they saw, and it's tough to imagine that the American people were able to either.