WASHINGTON -- Spending on U.S. construction projects increased for the third straight month in January to record levels, driven by strong gains in single-family homes and industrial construction, the government reported.

U.S. construction spending rose 1.5% in January to an annual rate of $830.5 billion after posting a 1.0% increase in December.

That gain was much stronger than the 0.4% rise forecast by economists in a Reuters poll and left construction spending at an all-time high despite signs of weakness elsewhere in the economy.