WASHINGTON--Construction spending increased 1.1% in February, the Commerce Department reported.

The value of new construction in the United States rose to $879.4 billion in February from a downwardly revised $869.7 billion in January, the Commerce Department said. The rate of increase was the highest since a matching pace in February 2001.

Private residential construction rose 3.5% in February. This increase is the largest acceleration in activity since April 1996.

Nonresidential construction fell by 3% in February.